Troubled Thompson Rivers University student Adrian Miller was granted a 125-day conditional sentence Friday for multiple criminal charges, which puts him under house arrest but gets him out of jail.
Miller, who is known as a candidate in last fall's school board elections as well as being elected to TRU's senate as a student representative, faced six charges ranging from breach of probation and bail conditions to theft under $5,000.
Provincial court Justice Hermann Rohrmoser granted the conditional sentence despite the Crown's request that the time be served behind bars.
Miller has been in custody at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre since March 29. On Friday, he pleaded guilty to six outstanding charges. Three other charges were stayed.
His lawyer, Sheldon Tate, said his client was pleased with the judge's ruling. Miller does have to notify probation officers as to his whereabouts, and he will likely stay in a motel until he finds permanent housing.
The conditional sentence allows Miller to continue to attend classes at TRU, as well as court appointments. He asked Rohrmoser if the sentence would restrict him from court appearances involving his lawsuit against the university; the judge said it would not.
Wearing red prison garb and sporting a rough beard, Miller told the court he was born in England, but subsequently bounced between there and Canada, where his mother came to live after his parents split up.
He was taken into custody of Children's Aid in Ontario when he was 12, and living on his own at age 16. He didn't complete high school, but was working by age 18, when he took a college admission exam.
He moved to Prince George a couple of years later, where he studied at UNBC from 2006 to 2007. Two years later, he was charged with a mischief incident that occurred there, but in the meantime he had moved to Kamloops and was studying off and on at TRU.
He was found guilty and put on probation for 18 months relating to that charge last May.
In October, 2011, he did not contact his probation officer as required. Miller said he did call and leave messages; the Crown said he didn't report.
That got him one charge of breach of probation.
In November, he was renting a basement suite in a home on Lodgepole Drive. The owners reported four rings missing as well as $500 cash.
The rings were found at a pawn shop, and Miller was suspected but he denied any theft.
On Feb. 14, 2012, the RCMP were at the pawn shop on another case and the officer found the rings there.
That same day, Miller called police from his basement suite (he'd been served eviction notice) and said he heard two windows smash and someone walking around upstairs.
When police responded, Miller was outside talking on his phone. Police searched the area, but found nothing except a broken second-storey patio door.
The owner checked and said a laptop computer, a camera and some photo equipment were missing.
Police got a warrant to search Miller's suite, where they found boxes taped up ready to be moved. Inside one was the computer and cameras, along with a photocopy of the appraisal on one of the missing rings.
Miller was charged with theft and mischief in that incident.
Later in the month, Miller told his probation officer he was couch surfing, but staying with someone at an apartment at Upper College Heights. The address did not exist and Miller was discovered sleeping in the TRU computer labs on two occasions.
He faced another charge of breach of probation and bail conditions.
And on March 11, he was seen with a receipt in a basket at Superstore on the security cameras. He matched the receipt with a pack of razors and some cold medication, then went to another part of the store and put the items into a store bag. He then tried to turn them in for a refund.
Miller was charged with fraud and taken into custody.
Speaking on his own behalf, Miller apologized to the couple he stole from as well as the court.
"I have learned my lesson," he said.
"I've been embarrassed profusely. I've been on the front page of newspapers numerous times. I've lost friends."
He said jail has been difficult, especially as a visible minority. He's Muslim, but has no access to religious books, and can't get an afro comb for his hair.
He said he has not had access to his psychiatrist and his medications were severely reduced because they could be sold off in jail.
"The jail time I have served has impressed upon me to follow the rules," he said, adding his actions were due to stress and a need for money.
"This wasn't so I could live high on the hog. It was desperation."
He said he'll be able to live on a disability pension when he gets out, but he faces an uphill battle in finding a place to live after all the publicity he's been given. He said he planned to study for his law degree, but later said he wanted to get a master's degree in England.
Rohrmoser imposed a 150-day conditional sentence for all the charges combined, reducing it by 25 days for time already served. The conditions including staying away from Superstore and his former landlords.
He also gave Miller a two-year probation requiring him to report to probation officers when required and to give notice of any change of address. RCMP can also check on him at curfew time.