Man with little recollection of South Okanagan drug-fuelled crime spree given house arrest | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Man with little recollection of South Okanagan drug-fuelled crime spree given house arrest

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PENTICTON - A man who claims to have little recollection of his crimes will serve a 14-month conditional sentence following sentencing in Penticton court.

The conditional sentence was the result of a joint submission reached by Crown and defence lawyers following efforts on the part of the accused to break his drug habit.

Devon Edward Frank Nemes, 27, entered guilty pleas to two counts of breaking and entering, once count of being unlawfully in a dwelling house and two counts of driving while license suspended in Penticton court yesterday, Nov. 22. The charges stem from an ongoing crime binge while he was high on drugs on Dec.16 and Dec. 17, 2017.

Crown prosecutor John Swanson told court police were called to a residence in the 400 block of Duncan Avenue in Penticton. While the owners were away, a break in occurred with $9,000 worth of goods taken. Two TV sets were left near the door, upon which Neme’s fingerprints were found.

The next day police were called to a Lupine Lane residence in Oliver on a disturbance call. A man later identified as Nemes walked into a residence and was chased out by the owner, who wrestled with him before he broke free and ran away. He was pursued to the Okanagan River, where he fell in. 

Nemes reappeared at a home on Road Nine about 500 metres away. Swanson said the occupant told police a man had come to the door screaming for help. She believed the man was trying to break in, and called 911 from her bathroom, after hearing the sound of glass breaking. She heard someone rummaging around the house before police arrived.

By then the accused had disappeared, but a police service dog was able to find a trail that coursed 350 metres through light brush to another residence where police found a Ford F-150 pickup parked in the driveway. Nemes was located in the truck in his boxer shorts and wrapped in a blanket, to all appearances looking like he had been immersed in the river.

A search back along the trail recovered several items taken from the residence and dropped along the way.

Swanson said Nemes had been released after spending 82 days in custody after coming before the courts with a plan to get treatment for his drug problems. He was now working productively and was stable, allowing Crown to go along with a joint submission that would see Nemes serve a conditional sentence.

Defence lawyer Blair Suffredine said his client suffered from a serious addiction issue. He said Nemes was high on drugs and had no recollection of the first incident, nor did he understand why he found himself barefoot and freezing in the second. He added it wasn’t an excuse for his behaviour, nor for his taking the items in the second offence.

Suffredine said his client had inherited a diamond drill company, made lots of money and then got involved in drugs. His driving while suspended infractions came about when he was test riding a motorcycle for his girlfriend, which later turned out to be stolen.

He said since Nemes got treatment, he’s had a clean record and hasn’t fallen off the wagon.

Judge Gregory Koturbash called the case “unique” in agreeing to the joint submission. He said Nemes had done all the right things, but was troubled by a lack of a restitution order for the items stolen by Nemes.

Nemes said he had no issue agreeing to restitution of $1,000, also requesting an opportunity to apologize to his victims.

Nemes will serve a 14-month conditional sentence of 24 hours house arrest for the first seven months, followed by house arrest with a curfew between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. for the final seven months, on top of jail time already served. In addition, he’ll pay two $500 fines for driving while prohibited and received a year’s driving suspension.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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