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Steven Neville sentenced for assaulting woman, violating no-contact order

Steven Neville (right) speaks to his lawyer, Tim O’Brien, after his sentencing Thursday in provincial court in St. John’s.
Steven Neville (right) speaks to his lawyer, Tim O’Brien, after his sentencing Thursday in provincial court in St. John’s. - Tara Bradbury
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

Steven Neville was given a three-month jail term Thursday, after he was convicted of assaulting a woman in July and twice breaking a court order to have no contact with her.

Neville, 29, pleaded guilty to charges of assault and breaching a recognizance, the most recent offence happening last month.

In an agreed statement of facts presented to Judge Colin Flynn, Crown prosecutor Mike Murray said police received a report from a neighbour of the woman just before 3 a.m. on July 9.

The neighbour told police she heard yelling and a woman shouting, "Help me," and looked out to see Neville and the woman arguing. The neighbour began recording the couple on her cellphone, but stopped to call 911.

"While she had stopped recording, she saw the male grab the female by the shoulders and throw her on the ground," Murray told the court. "While the woman was on the ground and somewhat blocked from her view, she could see the male over her, making a hitting motion."

The woman told police she saw Neville leave as officers arrived at the home.

Neville was charged with assault and released on an undertaking the next day, with conditions to stay away from the woman. He was arrested a month later, after police saw him driving a vehicle with the woman aboard. Neville was taken into custody and charged with breaching the no-contact order.

He was arrested again on Oct. 4 after police were called to St. Clare's hospital at 3:15 am. The woman was there and appeared intoxicated and stressed, Murray told the court. After speaking to her, the officers offered to take her home and check the residence, Murray said. Once there, they found Neville intoxicated and hiding in a closet. He has been in custody ever since.

Murray presented Neville's criminal record to the court, saying it included close to 20 convictions, most of them breaches of court orders. There were no convictions between 2010 and his most recent conviction, which was in 2014, Murray noted.

"Taking his guilty pleas as mitigating and the fact the assault was domestic in nature as aggravating, as well as given the gaps in the record, what the Crown is going to suggest here is a sentence of 90 days," Murray told the judge.

Defence lawyer Tim O'Brien said he was making a joint submission for the 90 days.

"Given the record and his personal situation, it's reasonable," O'Brien said.

He told the judge that Neville has been working in the laundry room inside Her Majesty's Penitentiary, and had made connections with the John Howard Society for resources upon his release. He had been working in construction before his arrest, O'Brien said, and hopes to return to work. He also has a five-month-old child.

"I want to have a healthy life and move on and care for my son," Neville told the judge when asked if he had anything to say.

Flynn accepted the 90-day sentencing submission, and also ordered Neville to serve a 12-month period of probation, with counselling as determined by his probation officer. With enhanced credit given for the time he has spent in custody on remand, he has 37 days left to serve.

Neville first made headlines in 2010, when he was charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder for the fatal stabbing of Doug Flynn and the stabbing of Ryan Dwyer during an altercation on a residential street in Paradise. He was convicted in 2013, but that conviction was later overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada, which took issue with aspects of the original judge's instructions to the jury. A new trial was ordered and Neville was released on bail to await it, having spent more than five years in prison.

Last December, after an 11-week trial and almost nine days of jury deliberations, he was found not guilty.

tara.bradbury@thetelegram.com
Twitter: @tara_bradbury

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