Judge or­ders sex­ual as­sault, threat­en­ing trial

The Sudbury Star - - LOCAL - HAROLD CARMICHAEL [email protected]­media.com Twit­ter: @HaroldCarmichae

A Sud­bury man ac­cused of sex­ual as­sault and threat­en­ing death/ cause bod­ily harm is headed to a Su­pe­rior Court trial.

On­tario Court Jus­tice An­drew But­taz­zoni com­mit­ted Robert Byrnes to stand trial fol­low­ing a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing Mon­day at the Sud­bury Court­house.

Byrnes, who is be­ing rep­re­sented by veteran local lawyer Ted Conroy, has opted for a judge-alone trial. He is also fac­ing charges of breach of bail and ob­struct jus­tice.

Byrnes is no stranger to the courts.

In the spring of 2012, Byrnes was found not guilty May 1 by a Su­pe­rior Court jury of at­tempted mur­der, but guilty of break and en­ter with in­tent. The charges were laid when he struck his ex-wife struck in the head twice with a metal file at her home April 30, 2010.

Byrnes was sen­tenced to 90 days of week­end jail and put on two years’ pro­ba­tion.

At that time, Byrnes’ crim­i­nal record in­cluded a blowing over conviction in 2010, and an as­sault and theft con­vic­tions.

Byrnes and his es­tranged wife Ni­cole, who mar­ried in 1981, sep­a­rated in 1999, the court heard at the start of the trial. Robert had been pay­ing monthly sup­port of $1,200, but that changed in early 2010 when Robert took his pen­sion from Vale and saw his in­come drop to about $3,300 a month.

The two ap­peared in family court on April 29, 2010, to hear Ni­cole’s at­tempt to get half of the pen­sion, but the mat­ter was not de­cided.

The Crown al­leged Robert broke into Ni­cole’s home about 1 a.m. April 30, 2010, woke up the woman, who was sleep­ing, and asked to rec­on­cile.

When Ni­cole said no, he be­came an­gry and struck her twice in the head with a metal file, the Crown said. Byrnes fled when Ni­cole, who had her mouth cov­ered by one of Robert’s hands, was able to yell and alert son Ja­son, who was sleep­ing in the next room.

Robert Byrne had tes­ti­fied he had gone to his wife’s home to search for fi­nan­cial doc­u­ments for use in family court, believ­ing she would be at work and that at he had talked to son Ja­son sev­eral hours ear­lier about do­ing so.

Robert said he was sur­prised to find her home. He said Ni­cole hit him on the right shoul­der af­ter try­ing to calm her down.

When he pulled the metal file out of his jacket fol­low­ing the punch, Ni­cole grabbed it and a strug­gle en­sued, he said. Robert said he fled af­ter Ni­cole was hurt.

The file, Robert tes­ti­fied, was go­ing to be used to open a fire­box in Ni­cole’s bed­room, some­thing he had done in the past when Ni­cole lost the keys.

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