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Serial burglar denied bail in St. John's court

Robert (Bobby) Newell speaks with prosecutor Jude Hall (not pictured) in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John’s Thursday, shortly before he was convicted of a break-in at a local siding contractor’s office in 2016.
Robert (Bobby) Newell. - Tara Bradbury file photo/The Telegram

Risk of Bobby Newell reoffending is too great, judge rules

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

A serial burglar who had been out of jail for two months when he was arrested for three new break-ins last week will remain behind bars for now.

Bobby Newell was denied bail Thursday morning, with a provincial court judge saying the chance he would re-offend if he were released was too great, based on his criminal record.

Newell, 36, has a 52-page record consisting mainly of commercial break-ins and breaches of court orders.

"You could have made this decision yesterday instead of bringing me back here to say this. I mean, it took five minutes to do," Newell told Judge Lois Skanes after she presented her bail decision.

Newell indicated he intends to plead not guilty to his current charges by asking Skanes if it was possible to set a trial date then and there. The judge set Newell's next court appearance for Monday morning by video from Her Majesty's Penitentiary, for the purpose of scheduling a trial.

Newell was released from custody May 7, after spending more than two years in jail for break-ins.

He and another man are alleged to have broken into three businesses in the early morning hours of July 10: NAPA Auto Parts in C.B.S., Paradise Wall-Beds on Topsail Road and Riverdale Investments, also in C.B.S. Surveillance footage obtained by police from the businesses showed two suspects arriving in a blue Montana, with one using a crowbar to break in.

The vehicle was located around 6 a.m. in the parking lot of Tim Hortons in Manuels, and police approached it and found Newell in the driver's seat, with another man sitting next to him, and a crowbar on the floor.

Newell has been charged with three counts of break and entry, one count of possessing a break-in instrument and three counts of breaching his probation.

During his bail hearing, Newell told the court he had overcome a longtime drug addiction while in jail, and was hoping to find work and apply for programs to assist him with reintegrating into the community. He had been providing support to a visually impaired family member, he said, and was hoping to be released on bail so the two could continue being a support to each other.

Newell — whose prior convictions include breaking into a St. John's church last year and leaving a juice box with his DNA on it behind — has represented himself in court during his previous trials, prompting one judge to commend him on his abilities and urge him to get his life together and use his talents in a productive way.


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