— Photo by Andrew Robinson/The Telegram
The lawyer for a man who eluded police for six days after failing to comply with his curfew at a residential centre for adult male offenders said his client was trying to put his life back together and deserved a chance to serve his sentence for being unlawfully at large on weekends.
But Judge James Walsh disagreed with that assessment as it pertained to 31-year-old Robert Pitcher, who was sentenced to a 45-day consecutive sentence on Thursday at St. John’s provincial court.
Walsh said Pitcher’s prior record for breaching probation and failing to attend court dates made the proposal of handing down an intermittent sentence unreasonable. Walsh also cited the lengthy nature of Pitcher’s absence from Howard House in St. John’s, where the man was completing a sentence for multiple break and enters in 2012.
Pitcher was due to arrive at Howard House by 9 p.m. at the latest on Aug. 17, 2013, but he failed to show up. Police were contacted and a warrant for his arrest was issued that night. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary issued a news release four days later asking for the public’s help to locate Pitcher.
He was found Aug. 23 at a house on Harcourt Road in Paradise and has remained in custody ever since. According to Crown prosecutor Dana Sullivan, Pitcher was scheduled to be released on Sept. 24.
Pitcher has a lengthy criminal record that spans 17 pages. He has 16 convictions for break and enter, 18 for breach of probation, and seven for failing to attend court.
Pitcher’s lawyer, Stephen Orr, told Walsh that his client has been trying to find work as a welder and was two days short of completing a 10-day safety course. Orr said Pitcher has also undergone counselling for drug addiction.