A 46 year old homeless man wholit the end of a fuel hose with a lighter in December 2019 has been acquitted, after serving 3 years in prison for the crime.
The incident dates back to December 10, 2019, at 11 pm. The individual threw a beer bottle against the window of the Repsol gas station shop, causing a crack. While the employee contacted the Public Security Police (PSP), the man, with a lighter in hand, went to one of the fuel pumps, removed the hose from the fitting and lit it at the end, causing a flame next to the tank of diesel.
The drops that fell caused momentary flames, however, due to the blockage of the fuel flow, controlled remotely from inside the service station, the flames on the ground ended up going out.
The man had been sentenced by the Court of Portimão to three years in prison, but he appealed the decision and on September 12th this year the Court of Appeal of Évora revoked the sentence, however, the decision was not unanimous.
The decision statement reads: “As a result of the proven fact that the defendant lit the lighter at the end of the hose when he was not refueling (nor was he going to refuel), and following an objective judgment of normality, it was clearly not possible to cause the fire that he was accused of, as the pumps were in prepayment mode at that time of night (after 11pm), and so were locked and the flow of fuel was blocked”.
For this reason, the Évora Court of Appeal ruled that this was an impossible arson attempt.
However, this was not the understanding of the judge who voted unsuccessfully, arguing that there are often fuel residues at the end of the hose handle despite it being locked/blocked, in addition to the existence of flammable products on the ground in the vicinity of the pumps.