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Murdered buddy likely triggered relapse

A man with a lengthy criminal record has received a 200-day jail sentence for breaching court orders and stealing two bottles of booze.

“Every time you’re going to come before the court, you’re going to jail,” said Judge Adrian Brooks on Monday in Campbell River provincial court.

Steven Furness, 34, will likely serve two-thirds of his sentence after pleading guilty to two counts of breaching probation, one count of violating a court order and one count of theft.

The theft occurred recently at the Royal Coachman Cold Beer and Wine Store where Furness stole two bottles of liquor. He was arrested afterwards and held in custody. According to Crown prosecutor Adrienne Venturini, Furness has an extensive criminal record with convictions for robbery, theft, break and enter, possession of break and enter tools, and possession of stolen property. Many of his crimes occurred in the early 2000s when Furness struggled with drug addiction, but in 2008, he settled down, got married, had a child and was working in the construction industry.

However, in July 2010, his best friend was murdered and that seemed to trigger a relapse, said Venturini.

Furness started using heroin again, committing crimes and getting arrested. As a result, his wife left with their daughter and he became estranged from both.

About five months ago, he had come to Campbell River from the Lower Mainland in an apparent effort to get his life back on track and to try and renew his relationship with his young daughter.

Furness was scheduled to begin a methadone maintenance program when he was arrested for theft. According to defence lawyer Brian Dybawd, Furness had an eight-year gap in convictions and for five of those years he was on the methadone program.

“It worked well for him…he’s motivated to get back on (the program) following his release,” Dybawd told the judge.

In the end, Judge Brooks accepted the joint submission from the Crown and the defence for the 200-day sentence.

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