This Vernon man appears to have turned his life around in prison | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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This Vernon man appears to have turned his life around in prison

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October 31, 2019 - 4:20 PM

A judge has praised a Vernon man, convicted of break and enter and assaulting his former partner, for turning his life around during his three months in prison.

B.C. Provincial Court Judge Richard Hewson told Guy Roy he had done "his absolute best" to rehabilitate himself while in custody.

"(Roy) is an example of someone who has taken charge of his own life and taken steps to turn it around," Justice Hewson told the courtroom.

The judge read out a list of achievements, including multiple counselling and education courses Roy completed while in custody.

"I say all of that not because I need to, but I think Mr. Roy needs to hear it and the rest of the community (should know) what he has accomplished," Hewson said.

Roy appeared by video in the Vernon courtroom Oct. 30, waiting for sentencing on charges related to theft and break and enter, as well as assault causing bodily harm resulting from an incident with his former partner.

In August, 2019 Roy broke into Helmut's Sausage Kitchen in Vernon and stole $500 worth of sausages from the freezer, leaving it open. When the business owner discovered the break-in, $2,500 worth of goods left in the freezer was also deemed unusable.

Police recognized Roy from surveillance footage and arrested him shortly afterwards following a report the City of Vernon public works yard had been broken into.

The court heard how police discovered Roy with a stolen gas can and hip waders, as well as bolt cutters, at a one-person "homeless camp" near the site.

Roy also appeared in court for charges related to a domestic dispute with his former partner that left her with a black eye and other injuries.

In a joint submission, Crown lawyer Laura McPheeters and defence counsel Brian Loewen requested a sentence of roughly four months jail time, which would allow Roy to be released as he would receive credit for being in custody for almost three months.

"What's the benefit to the community?" Hewson asked the defence.

"The cost to the community, if you want to get right down to it, is the cost of a person being in a custodial situation," replied Loewen. "And a person in a custodial situation can pick up bad habits to be very frank."

Hewson then asked Roy what he wanted to say.

Roy read off a list of counselling, addiction, and educational courses he'd completed in prison, telling the judge he was now 13 assignments away from completing his Grade 12 education and that he could get someone to fax them to him if he needed proof.

"Did you manage all of that in the time you'd been in custody?" Hewson asked.

"Yes sir," replied Roy.

"Wow," Hewson said.

The court heard how Roy was a qualified pipefitter, often working in northern Alberta, and had two children.

Three years ago he was traumatized by hearing his friend die while talking to him on his cell phone. Roy struggled with mental health issues and stopped taking his medication. His difficulties culminated in the summer of 2019.

"And three years later after not dealing with my problems properly and just getting high to avoid it, I ended up in this situation," Roy told the court. "I don't want to be back in this situation, I don't want to have to sit in front of a judge again. I'd like to continue doing right outside of these four walls."

"Sometimes when people tell me that, I have my doubts but in your case I feel pretty confident that the next time you and I meet it will be under much better circumstances," Hewson said.

He sentenced Roy to time served, followed by 12 months probation.

The judge told Roy he hoped he could take his son to Halloween.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 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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News from © iNFOnews, 2019

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