A Langford teenager accused of arson will plead not guilty to setting a fire at Savory elementary last September.
Robert Jones, the lawyer for the youth, who was 16 at the time of the fire, said his client is pleading not guilty to setting the fire that destroyed the administration wing of Savory on Sept. 11, 2011.
The fire caused about $50,000 worth of damage to the 46-year-old school and 155 students were bused to different schools for three weeks during extensive cleanup and repair.
Jones said he will concede the fire was deliberately set, which will allow the Crown to avoid calling fire and forensic expert witnesses, so shortening the trial.
“We’re prepared to admit the fire was not an accident, that it was deliberate,” Jones said. “But I’m not admitting my client is responsible for setting the fire.”
Jones said it appears the fire started in or close to a room that had an exterior window broken. He said the Crown’s theory is something incendiary was thrown through the window.
Jones wouldn’t say if his client was at or near the school at the time of the early morning fire. The youth will formally enter his plea on Feb. 22 at Western Communities Courthouse.
His co-accused Jordan Deluca, who was 19 at the time of the fire, has a trial date scheduled for Jan. 7, 2013 at Western Communities Courthouse. The teens’ trials will be separate due to one accused being a minor and the other an adult.
Deluca’s lawyer Paul Pearson confirmed his client has pleaded not guilty, but declined to comment on Deluca’s defence strategy.