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Witness details drug-fueled relationship with accused in drug, gun bust

August 18, 2016 - 8:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - The former girlfriend of the accused in a drug and gun bust detailed during her testimony in Kamloops court today a life of drug-use she shared with her ex-boyfriend .

Deborah Swaine took the stand in Kamloops Provincial Court today, Aug. 18, and was questioned by defence lawyer Don Campbell and Crown prosecutor Adrienne Murphy.

Swaine told the court that she and Steven Bernd Bartkowski were in a relationship for eight months, but broke up after Swaine was convicted of possession for the purpose of trafficking in January 2014.

Swaine also had Campbell as a defence lawyer at the time. She was convicted and given a conditional sentence with a mandatory treatment program in the lower mainland.

Court heard that Bartkowski would bring drugs down to Swaine's treatment facility in an unusual vessel.

"You were self-medicating," Murphy said to Swaine. "Mr. Bartkowski was bringing you heroin in Kinder eggs."

While Swaine was on the stand she detailed her and Bartkowski's drug-fuelled relationship while they lived together on Kamloops's North Shore.

Several people would stay in their basement suite for days, sometimes weeks.

Swaine said if someone was "dopesick", she would give them heroin in return for different drugs. Dopesick refers to becoming physically ill if a heroin addict is not getting any or enough of the drug.

Swaine also had a young son who didn't live with her, but would visit.

"He'd come over on the weekends mostly," Swaine said. "We'd clean up everything and try to make it as family-oriented as possible."

Swaine said Bartkowski loved her son and would take him fishing.

Bartkowski was arrested in March 2014, after police found guns and drugs in the Kamloops home. There was a furnace room in the basement suite where police found a duffel bag containing a sawed-off shotgun, a revolver and drugs.

Investigators also found 10 viles of Lidocaine in the suite, which Swaine said was given to the couple by a friend who was a dental hygienist. Lidocaine is a liquid used to temporarily numb muscle tissue.

Bartkowski is facing nearly a dozen firearm and drug-related offences. He's previously been convicted of manslaughter in the murder of a Vancouver Island man, and has a lengthy criminal record including offences in Kamloops.

Crown and defence are expected to wrap up their submissions by tomorrow, Aug. 18.


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