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Oliver man given opportunity for redemption

An Oliver man was given a conditional sentence Wednesday after pleading guilty to charges laid after a relationship went sour.
December 04, 2014 - 2:25 PM

PENTICTON - An Oliver man will not have to spend any more time behind bars after pleading guilty to three counts in a Penticton courtroom on December 3.

Steven Thomas Miller was charged with criminal harassment, uttering threats and possession of a prohibited weapon after a whirlwind relationship went sour in May of 2014.

Crown Prosecutor Susan Greba told court Miller became involved in a relationship that developed at “warp speed,” with Miller and his girlfriend eventually living together. The relationship “didn’t go very well” and Miller’s partner left.

Greba said Miller then became increasingly jealous towards her, making accusations of infidelity and constantly calling her. Things came to a head in May when Miller “got worked up,” at one point making 30 phone calls in two hours. He left macabre messages about “stuffing bodies into a trunk” and sent photos of himself with a noose around his neck, in addition to making threats to kill himself. He also intimated that he was stalking his former girlfriend, as well as her mother. Greba noted both Miller’s ex-partner and her mother had become afraid of Miller at that point.

Crown said when Miller was arrested in Oliver, he was initially cooperative. At that time, police found a small taser in his car. Police became increasingly concerned for the safety of their prisoner when he began exhibiting erratic behaviour, with sudden outbursts of anger followed by sadness.

Greba told court Miller suffered from a history of drug abuse.

“Mr. Miller has a big problem that makes him very dangerous in a domestic situation,” Greba told the court.

Defence lawyer James Pennington told the court Miller and his girlfriend met in a drug house and shared similar lifestyles and addictions.

“My client acknowledges he gets involved in drugs,” Pennington said. “His time in custody has actually been a godsend. He was forced to dry out and examine his life. He realizes he can’t break the habit himself.”

Pennington argued for a conditional sentence, as Miller had already spent 119 days in jail. Miller also spoke, via video link, on his own behalf, apologizing for his behaviour, describing himself as “a good person normally, when clean and sober.”

He said he was prepared to take responsibility for his actions and was interested in enrolling in a rehabilitation program.

Judge Gregory Koturbash noted the seriousness of the offences Miller had pled guilty to, but also noted Miller’s desire for rehabilitation as well as his attempt to take responsibility for himself.

Miller was given a conditional sentence of 540 days, less 119 days for time already served, on the three counts- criminal harassment, uttering threats and possession of a prohibited weapon. His conditional sentence comes with a number of restrictions. Miller also faces a 10-year firearm restriction and 18 months probation, which Koturbash said could be reviewed should Miller succeed in his rehabilitation.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2014

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