Man who's sorry for burning B.C. Masonic buildings gets 2.5 years with time served

·1 min read

VANCOUVER — A British Columbia provincial court judge has sentenced a man who set fire to three Masonic buildings to 40 months in prison.

Minus time served, Benjamin Kohlman's sentence amounts to about 2 1/2 years in prison.

The 43-year-old man pleaded guilty in September to arson charges for setting three fires within an hour of each other, two in North Vancouver and one in Vancouver.

Judge Laura Bakan said she accepted Kohlman was sorry for his actions and offered her hope that he would be able to deal with his addiction issues while in prison.

The court heard the fires caused more than $2.5 million in damage, including the complete loss of the Masonic hall in North Vancouver.

Both Crown counsel and Kohlman's defence lawyer told the court he targeted Masonic buildings in an attempt to stop the "Illuminati using mind control" and voices directed him to start the fires.

Crown attorney Jonas Dow had asked for a prison sentence up to five years, while the defence called for a two- to three-year sentence.

Kohlman's lawyer, Jessica Dawkins, told the court her client set the fires early in the morning so no one would be harmed.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 8, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting