The Aveiro court today sentenced a 39-year-old man who started nine forest fires between August and November 2016 in Agueda, to four years and nine months in prison, with suspended sentence.

The accused, who was under house arrest, with electronic surveillance, was released from court after reading the judgment.

Earlier, the presiding judge explained that the panel of judges decided to suspend the sentence, even though the “high” prevention needs of general order did not advise it.

The last fires and the panic and damage that this causes in the populations are still very present, but we decided to give you a vote of confidence, because you confessed the facts and because we have the expectation and the confidence that it does not repeat again, “said the magistrate.

The court also took into account the fact that the burned areas were small and there were no “significant losses”.

The man was convicted of seven forest fire crimes, two of them in attempted, and two fire crimes.

During the trial, the defendant showed regret and justified his behaviour, claiming that he “was out of control” due to the separation of his companion.

According to the indictment of the Public Ministry, the fires occurred in different places of the parish of Macinhata do Vouga, in the municipality of Águeda, where the defendant resides.

The MP states that at the beginning of August, in order to “cause commotion in the residents of that locality and in the localities nearby,” the defendant decided to start firing several fires on his neighbour’s land.

The defendant acted during the night, setting fire to dry pine cones and a lighter and, in some cases, watched others fight the fire, doing nothing to extinguish the flames, says the MP.

In most cases, the intervention of the population was enough to extinguish the fire, but in two situations the firemen had to be called to stop the spread of the flames to forest zones and houses.