Pants on fire as hoax runs out of hand: Scout troop leaders get mild punishment

Two years ago, a hoax ran completely out of hand as two Scout troop leaders set fire to the pants of a sleeping friend. The victim suffered severe burns. The two leaders of the troop, both from Hoevenen (Antwerp province), had to appear in court but received a mild sentence today. While the public prosecutor had suggested four years behind bars, one man got off the hook while the other has been ordered to do community service.

The hoax took place at a scouts camp. The two first put lamp fuel on the pants a friend was wearing while he was asleep. They next set fire to the pants to see what would happen. The victim suffered heavy burns on his legs.

The Scout members responsible for the joke do not have to go to jail. One man was cleared from all charges, while the other was given 100 hours of community service. The ruling judge argued the act was not premeditated.

The victim has recovered relatively well. "Cycling remains difficult, and when it's cold my legs are itching. I bear the scars for the rest of my life, but I realise it could have been much worse." The victim will get a financial compensation worth 30,000 euros.