At age 25, Cameron Harry’s alcoholism keeps leading him back to jail.
“He seems to be doing a life sentence on the instalment plan,” noted Crown prosecutor Tim Morgan.
Harry is back behind bars in Victoria. On Monday, he appeared by video in Campbell River provincial court where he pleaded guilty to stealing liquor and breach of probation.
“He’s a pleasant fellow who wants help,” suggested defence lawyer Kevin McCullough.
But Harry is known to be violent when he’s drunk. In the last six years, he’s racked up six convictions for assault, two for assault causing bodily harm, resisting arrest, pointing a firearm, and more than a dozen counts of breaching court orders.
Last winter Harry was living in Campbell River and was under a court order to not be outside his residence when he was impaired. But on the night of March 23, police were called to the Cedar School field to investigate an assault.
The bloodied and uncooperative victim was found and Harry was also located nearby. He had blood on his hands and two bottles of liquor.
Harry wasn’t charged with assault, but he was given a four-month conditional sentence to be served at home. He also intended to enter residential treatment for his alcoholism, but it’s unknown if that ever occurred.
He later moved back home, to the West Coast community of Kyuquot, but was still required to report to probation in Campbell River.
On Nov. 3, according to McCullough, Harry saw his probation officer, but didn’t have the money to return home. Instead, he joined up with another man and the two of them each stole a 26-ounce bottle of vodka from the Royal Coachman Cold Beer and Wine Store.
The theft was immediately reported to police, but the culprits were already gone. However, RCMP were able to identify Harry through the surveillance video.
Harry wasn’t arrested until Nov. 18, when Mounties went to investigate a fight in progress. At the scene, they also found Harry who was drunk and arrested him for theft and breach of probation. He’s been in jail since then.
According to Morgan, when Harry drinks, “he basically steals with impunity from local liquor stores and other residences.”
He hopes Harry will get help, but Morgan also warned the Crown will proceed by indictment – a more serious charge – the next time he’s arrested for theft. This time Morgan asked the judge to impose a five-month jail sentence.
Harry’s lawyer suggested 30 days was enough and said the court should be seeking ways to find help for Harry, not just sending him back to jail on the “instalment plan.”
He told the court that Harry was one of 15 children raised by alcoholic parents. Harry began drinking at age 12 and hasn’t stopped.
Judge John Joe encouraged Harry to get help, but said the community deserves protection. He sentenced Harry to 90 days, less seven days for time served and gave him one year of probation.
Harry was also ordered to get counselling and he’s not allowed to go to the Royal Coachman.