A Junee jail inmate has had time added to his sentence after he lit a fire in his cell and assaulted a correctional officer.
Eric Ngatuvai, 24, was serving time in segregation when he set off the smoke alarms by setting fire to his own clothes.
When correctional officers rushed to his cell to extinguish the fire, Ngatuvai became aggressive and spat on them a number of times.
He lashed out again when the officers attempted to restrain him, and headbutted one officer twice.
After the incident, which was caught on CCTV and the officers’ body cameras, NSW Fire and Rescue had to attend the jail to secure the cell.
On Wednesday, Ngatuvai appeared before Wagga Local Court for sentencing via video-link from a jail cell.
When magistrate Christopher Halburd paused to read his extensive criminal history, Ngatuvai asked “Is this thing on? Because I can’t hear nothing”.
“You’ve got a 38-page criminal record, sir, so it takes a while to read it all,” Mr Halburd said.
Defence solicitor Marie-Clare Tabuteau said Ngatuvai had been serving time in segregation for about two years now and only got to spend one hour a day outside his cell.
“His reason for setting the fire on that date was that there’d been an issue with other inmates in that pod, so officers had requested that inmates not attend the pod,” Ms Tabuteau said.
“Rather than asking someone to attend his cell, he set a fire to get attention.”
Mr Halburd sentenced Ngatuvai to 16 months’ jail for assaulting the correctional officer.
The Junee Correctional Centre dealt with the fire internally.
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