Calgary, Alberta, Canada Man Pleads Guilty to Lighting His Friend's Pants on Fire

CALGARY (CP) -- A Calgary man could go to jail for lighting his co-worker's crotch on fire in a drunken prank that caused burns and scarring to five per cent of the man's body.

Michael William Cleare, 29, pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing bodily harm Monday.

Jeffery Dale Lewis suffered second- and third-degree burns and permanent scarring to his inner thigh and genitals in the June 8, 2003, incident.

After a night of drinking, the two men returned to Cleare's southwest Calgary home.

After Lewis fell asleep on a chair with his legs spread apart, Cleare ran a lighter along the inside of the man's right thigh and crotch.

The intention, according to an agreed statement of facts signed by defence lawyer Bruce Corenblum and entered as an exhibit at Cleare's provincial court appearance Monday, was for the heat to wake the man up.

Instead, Lewis's pants caught fire. He awoke and rushed to the kitchen where the two men extinguished the flames.

He then went back to sleep until the next morning when Cleare drove him to hospital.

Lewis later underwent surgery, during which skin was grafted to his upper thigh.

Complications developed in late July 2003 when half of the skin grafts would not heal properly.

Further grafts were made and Lewis spent another week in hospital.

Judge Anne Brown adjourned sentencing arguments until Sept. 22.

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