January 10, 2014 - 4:25 PM
PENTICTON - A convicted Penticton man called "a bricklayer in a wall of harm" by Justice Susan Griffin, was given probation instead of jail for the remorse he's shown in court and for his service to friends and the community.
Keenan Lance Owens, 22, was sentenced in Penticton Supreme Court on Wednesday for pleading guilty to two drug charges. He was arrested in January 2013 following an investigation by police. Officers determined Owens was selling dope out of his Penticton residence. When he was arrested he had about 22.1 grams of cocaine and 17 ounces of pot, packaged in small quantities intended for sale. The street value would have been between $5,000 and $10,000. He also had $1,000 in cash.
The situation that led to his arrest and the letters of support from his employer and friends afterwards were taken into consideration by Griffin. The investigation also learned before turning to the drug trade Owens moved to Penticton to find work. After working at an aluminum plant and a mine, Griffin took a construction safety course and hoped his skills would land him a job. That didn't happen.
"When he became financially strapped in 2012 he decided he could make some easy money in the drug trade and that is what led to his arrest," Griffin explained.
Griffin said since being charged Owens has tried to turn his life around. He's been working full-time in rebar installation and has the support of his employer. Owens also arranged a community fundraiser for a friend diagnosed with breast cancer. He also helped her get her daycare business up and running.
The justice added he has no prior criminal record and his actions "since the offence are consistent with his claim that he knows that what he did was wrong and he feels very badly about it."
Owens was given a suspended sentence and two years probation for pleading guilty to two counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Quesnel at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 250-488-3065 or tweet @InfoNewsPentict.
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