Judge lectures arsonist

An Otago farmer who walked into a Queenstown bar with a flaming nurse's uniform, which he threw at people he did not know, will be sentenced in March on arson charges.

A day after 232 people were killed in a nightclub fire in Brazil, William Huntly Stuart Jones (28) was yesterday lectured by Judge Michael Turner regarding the arson. Jones, a farmer of Shannon, near Middlemarch, admitted charges of arson and intentional damage to the property of the Pig and Whistle Pub on January 2.

Jones had been visiting the resort and drinking with friends when he set a ''nurse's uniform'' on fire, police prosecutor Sgt Ian Collin said.

Jones had been with a group of associates who were all intoxicated, the court was told.

Judge Michael Turner said he regarded this as serious offending and remanded Jones until March 11 for sentencing.

''Two hundred and thirty two people were killed overnight in a fire in a Brazil nightclub.''

''I don't know how that fire started, but you deliberately set fire to items in this bar. You put yourself and a number of other people at risk by your actions.''

After setting the uniform on fire Jones allegedly ''threw the smouldering dress'' at patrons unknown to him within the bar and then walked into the women's toilets, where he set fire to a paper roll dispenser.

The building filled with smoke and was evacuated while firefighters attended.