Nfld. & Labrador

'You are an angry person,' judge says to former RNC officer before ordering counselling

Steve Curnew will have to serve two months' probation and attend anger management counselling after breaching an order to stay away from his wife's house.

Steve Curnew, 44, given conditional discharge, probation and anger management order

Former RNC officer Steve Curnew was handed a conditional discharge, while being ordered to attend anger management classes. (Ryan Cooke/CBC)

If Steve Curnew had stayed silent after admitting guilt at his last court appearance, he likely could have walked away scot-free.

Instead, he launched into a rant about his estranged wife and her "slanderfest" against him, giving the judge something else to consider when handing down his sentence on Monday morning.

"You have no remorse and you blame her for your current situation," said Judge Lori Marshall. "You may not be a violent person; it is evident you are an angry person."

He was handed a conditional discharge, with two months' probation and must attend anger management counselling.

Last month, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary confirmed Curnew was no longer a member of the force, but said his dismissal had nothing to do with his court case. The reasons for his firing have not been released.

Not a criminal charge

Curnew was charged with breaching an emergency protection order by going to his estranged wife's house twice in one day — once to pick up their son and then to drop him off. After dropping him off, Curnew walked their dog.

He never set foot in the house, and his wife knew he was coming. However, hours later he was picked up by two sergeants with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and spent the night in lockup.

Steve Curnew was the media relations officer for the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. (CBC)

Curnew initially pleaded not guilty to breaching the order, which is not a criminal charge, but a breach of the Family Violence Prevention Act.

On the day his trial was supposed to take place, he changed his plea to guilty.

His defence lawyer, Randy Pearcey, asked for an absolute discharge — meaning a finding of guilt is made, but no conviction is entered and no conditions are attached.

Crown attorney Nicole Hurley argued his case was more serious because he was a police officer, and called for a $1,000 fine.

'I have nothing left in this province'

In her decision, Marshall said an absolute discharge would have been fitting for the facts of the case, but would have done nothing to deal with the anger he felt towards his ex-wife.

With rehabilitation in mind, she handed down a conditional discharge, with probation and counselling. Marshall then asked Curnew if he would sign the order.

He hesitated for a few moments and leaned forward.

"The only issue I have, your honour, is I'm not intending to stay in this province. I was going to be out of this province last week. I have a job in Ontario."

"So is that a no?" the judge asked.

"Is there a way around it? Am I able to do counselling elsewhere?"

"Are you willing to sign the order today?" Marshall asked again.

"I'll sign an order, your honour, but I do not want to stay in this province. I have nothing left in this province."

After court adjourned, Curnew lined up at the wicket in the lobby to sign his papers.

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About the Author

Ryan Cooke works for CBC out of its bureau in St. John's.