A self-declared "shithead" will get the chance to show he can change after avoiding further time behind bars for starting a fire in Canberra's jail.
Career criminal Jordan Wayne Beroukas, who has "no comment" tattooed on his jawline, pleaded guilty to arson after igniting an Alexander Maconochie Centre cell in December 2019.
The 24-year-old caused $2300 worth of damage with the blaze, which he lit while the ACT was subject to a total fire ban as extensive bushfires raged in surrounding regions.
When Beroukas fronted the ACT Supreme Court for a sentence hearing in June, he blamed his actions on immaturity.
He said he was "probably trying to impress people [he] shouldn't have been" and "didn't realise how stupid it was at the time".
"This charge is from 2019 and I've grown up a lot since then," Beroukas said.
"There was a lot of peer pressure involved and shit."
The court heard Beroukas had recently become a father and that this had given him the determination to stop being, as he put it, "a shithead".
A judgment published on Thursday shows Associate Justice Verity McWilliam has since sentenced Beroukas to 10 months in jail over the fire, but fully suspended the term.
"Arson is, of course, a serious offence and normally demands a prison sentence," she said.
"Although it is necessary to take into account sentencing practice, it must be remembered that each case turns on its own facts."
Associate Justice McWilliam said the birth of Beroukas' first child had been "of critical importance" to him, and that it appeared to have been the catalyst for him engaging in drug rehabilitation in a bid to turn away from a life of crime.
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"I was impressed with the offender's statements of a change to his attitudes and intended course of life," she said.
"It is important to recognise the willingness of the offender to rehabilitate himself, and to give him every opportunity to do so."
Associate Justice McWilliam said Beroukas had been granted parole in June in relation to an existing sentence for fraud, and it was only his remand on the arson charge that had been recently keeping him behind bars.
She ultimately imposed the suspended jail term, which came with a 12-month good behaviour order.
That term will begin in February 2022, when Beroukas' earlier sentence expires.
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