Arsonist released after more than a year behind bars

45-year-old man released from custody Monday after pleading guilty to arson

After spending more than a year in jail, Trigg Wilson is a free man.

The 45-year-old member of the Homalco First Nation was released from custody Monday after pleading guilty to arson.

In a joint sentencing agreement between the Crown and the defence, Wilson was given credit for serving 13 months and seven days at the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre in Victoria.

On Jan. 26, 2010, Wilson, a relative and a woman were drinking together at a Bute Crescent home located on the reserve. Wilson was intoxicated when he became angry, apparently because the woman was paying more attention to the other man.

He went outside, lit a pack of paper matches and threw them through an open bedroom window. The fire spread to the curtains, but was quickly put out by the occupants who used an extinguisher.

At the time, no one knew it was Wilson, but shortly afterwards, he began apologizing for setting the fire.

That led to his arrest and his confinement. For several weeks after his arrest, Wilson sat in jail and did little to help his own cause.

Just about weekly, Wilson would appear in court by video and would ask the court for more time. Finally, in March, Judge Brian Saunderson had had enough.

“This has gone on for too long,” the judge said. “Most people don’t enjoy staying in jail. You seem to be the exception to the the rule.”

That same day, a band social worker, Bonnie Wilson, told the judge that what Wilson did was “totally out of character.” She advised that she was trying to help Wilson find a legal aid lawyer and eventually he did obtain legal assistance.

After a bail hearing was finally held, Wilson was granted his release provided that someone sign a $3,000 no-cash surety. However, no one ever did sign for his release and Wilson languished in jail.

On Monday though, Wilson changed his not guilty plea to guilty and was released from custody.