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Serial thief given a second chance

Sympathetic ear: Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves

A serial thief who has a long history of stealing to fund a crippling drug habit has been given a second chance to get his life back on the right path.

Kavin Howard urged Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves to give him a chance to participate in the Drug Treatment Court programme to help tackle his addiction when he appeared in Supreme Court on Thursday for sentencing.

Howard, 48, of Warwick, had previously admitted stealing a jacket from the Island Shop on December 3 last year and taking a motorcycle leading police on a high-speed chase as they tried to arrest him three weeks later.

He told Mr Justice Greaves that, when he had been enrolled in the Drug Treatment Court programme in 2012, he went four years without committing another offence and asked for a second chance to take part in the programme.

Addressing the court, Howard said: “My record is atrocious; but when I got help I picked up the ball and I ran with it.

“But I relapsed; I tried my best but I came up short. I would be willing to go through the drug treatment programme again. I did a pretty good job between 2012 and 2016. I graduated from that programme and even went to college and became a qualified chef.

“I want to apologise to all the people affected by my actions. Addiction is a disease, and relapses can be part of that. I believe that I would benefit from more treatment.”

The court heard that Howard had racked up more than 60 offences between 1982 and 2011. He had started taking cannabis at the age of 9 and became a regular user by 13. He moved on to harder drugs including cocaine by 25, and heroin by 30.

Mr Justice Greaves said: “Given the proof from 2012 to 2016, Drug Court did assist you and you stayed away from crime. That to me is a better benefit to yourself and society as a whole than locking you up. It is more expensive to lock you up and less productive at this time.”

Mr Justice Greaves imposed a three-year prison sentence on Howard for the most recent offences, but suspended the term for three years.

He also made a “strong recommendation” that Howard should be able to enrol back in the Drug Court Treatment programme this week.

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