Judge orders sexual assault, threatening trial
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.