Last Friday a hearing was held in the Court of Appeal Newfoundland and Labrador to argue a bail-pending-appeal application filed by Ray Newman.
Newman, currently serving a 60-day prison term for assaulting an ex-girlfriend, has filed notice to appeal the conviction and sentence he received last month, and had wanted to be released from custody until the appeal is heard.
The justice hearing the bail application was scheduled to hand down a decision on Tuesday of this week. A decision would likely have had to consider the merits of the appeal.
But just prior to the judge’s decision on bail, Newman’s lawyer, Brian Wentzell, filed a notice of discontinuance of the application for judicial release.
Crown prosecutor Sheldon Steeves, who appeared at the hearing on the Crown’s behalf, confirmed the bail application was abandoned.
“There was bail pending appeal argued on Friday (July 6) and on Tuesday we received notice that the defence were abandoning their bail pending appeal, prior to the court actually making a decision,” Steeves said.
In Newman’s notice of appeal papers filed with the Court of Appeal, he asks the court to set aside the guilty verdict and enter a not guilty verdict in the case.
If the court fails to do that, Newman asks that the sentence of 60 days in prison be replaced with a 60-day conditional sentence.
Either way, it’s likely Newman’s sentence will expire before the appeal is heard.
During the trial, Newman’s ex-girlfriend testified the pair had been drinking and began arguing on the way back to Newman’s Paradise home after a night out. She told the court that Newman punched her, and that he tried to drag her out of the house by the leg and put his hands around her neck and choked her until she blacked out.
Forensic photos of the woman's injuries showed bruising and swelling around her eye, marks on her cheek and neck, vertical scratches on the centre of her chest and abrasions on her knee.
Newsman’s grounds for appeal state the trial judge erred on consideration (or lack thereof) of physical evidence in that he overstated the believability of the evidence of the victim and understated the believability of the evidence of Newman, and in doing so failed to find reasonable doubt where reasonable doubt existed.
In particular, the documents claim the trial judge failed to take into account medical evidence filed by consent of the Crown and defence that the defence says confirms there were no injuries to the victim’s neck. The documents also claim the judge wrongly determined that what was described as red swollen cheeks were consistent with assault.
As to sentence, Newman states the judge erred in law by taking the consideration of a conditional sentence order off the table because Newman had not pleaded guilty or taken responsibility for the offence.
In 2012, Newman was acquitted of murdering his estranged wife, Chrissy Predham-Newman, in her Airport Heights apartment five years earlier. During his murder trial, a Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court judge ruled to exclude a portion of the evidence presented by police, saying officers had made a mistake by not reading Newman his rights until 30 minutes into their interview with him, at which point he had already told them than he had been at Predham-Newman's apartment the day she died. Newman's acquittal was upheld upon appeal.