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Man who set friend ablaze at house party in Kelowna, B.C. gets 18 months in jail

KELOWNA, B.C. – A man who set his sleeping friend on fire during a house party in Kelowna, B.C., has received an 18-month jail sentence.

Matthew Sweet-Grant was also sentenced to two years’ probation after he and another man sprayed shaving cream on their 18-year-old pal and set him ablaze in what the pair claimed was a prank.

The victim needed treatment for second- and third-degree burns.

Provincial court Judge Anne Wallace told Sweet-Grant that while she wanted to deter others from similar actions she handed out a lighter sentence because he pleaded guilty, showed genuine remorse and there were no aggravating factors in the case.

A Crown lawyer had asked Wallace to impose a sentence of six to eight years, and the defence had asked for “limited time” to be added to the time Sweet-Grant had already served.

Wallace dismissed both requests, saying she didn’t know what the Crown was basing its submission on because there were no similar cases that would have warranted such a sentence.

But she said the defence’s request would not deter others.

Sweet-Grant, who is in his early 20s, and 18-year-old Josh McWhirter were both charged late last year with aggravated assault.

Under Wallace’s sentence, Sweet-Grant must not contact McWhirter or the victim, possess firearms for 10 years, or enter an establishment where liquor is the primary sales item.

He must also complete 20 hours of community service by speaking in high schools about the harm of pranks.

McWhirter has also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on Wednesday. (CKFR)