Arthur Burke, a former cast member on the reality TV show Ice Road Truckers, was sentenced Wednesday on the unusual charge of arson by negligence.
Territorial Court judge Donovan Molloy accepted the joint submission of 18 months on house arrest, though he said he “regard(s) it as an unfit sentence.”
Despite Molloy’s position on the sentence’s leniency, the Supreme Court of Canada dictates that a judge should only reject a joint sentencing submission if the proposed sentence would bring the administration of justice into disrepute or is otherwise contrary to public interest.
In this case, Molloy said he had “no choice.”
Burke appeared by video from a courthouse in Prince Edward Island.
He will remain on his PEI property in North Wiltshire for the next 18 months and pay $20,596 in restitution to be split between the housing corporation and the insurance companies.
Burke had previously pleaded guilty to causing an accidental explosion while trying to make a cannabis concentrate called shatter.
The process involves butane, a highly flammable substance, which exploded causing serious damages to the apartment building in downtown Yellowknife and burns that sent Burke to Stanton hospital for 12 days.
In delivering his sentence, Molloy told the court that the damaged unit in the North Slave Housing Corporation building was primarily for people “otherwise homeless,” and largely housed older women.
He said it was a facility they were “quite proud of” and referred to as the “Golden Girls estate.”
Molloy told the court that all of their lives were disrupted that day by Burke’s “stupidity.”
The explosion, which took place in November 2018, caused over $70,000 in damages.
Prior to Wednesday’s hearing, Burke’s sentencing had been delayed a number of times. Once for technical challenges with his video appearance, and, on the rescheduled date, for failing to appear in court on time.
Burke is known by some for his appearance in the final five seasons of the popular Ice Road Truckers TV series.