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St. John’s man suspected of assaulting former girlfriend freed in bizarre turn of events

Ramon Hernandez walks out of the courtroom in provincial court in St. John’s with sheriff’s officers Thursday after he was freed from jail.
Ramon Hernandez walks out of the courtroom in provincial court in St. John’s with sheriff’s officers Thursday after he was freed from jail. - Rosie Mullaley

A woman who had accused her former boyfriend of pointing a gun at her and trying to choke her last summer came to provincial court in St. John’s Thursday as a witness in his trial.

At the end of the day, Nicole Noble was arrested and her former boyfriend was released from jail.

Ramon Hernandez, 36, had been facing several charges, including assaulting, pointing a firearm, possessing a prohibited weapon (a handgun), uttering threats, unlawfully entering a dwelling, stemming from two separate incidents which were said to have happened against Noble in August of last year.

Noble was late showing up for the start of Hernandez’s trial Thursday, but when she did, sheriff’s officers took her into custody for not showing up for her own court dates — one of which was a trial on a charge alleging she had assaulted Hernandez.

That trial was scheduled for Jan. 3, but a warrant was issued for her arrest when she was a no-show. The 30-year-old had already had a warrant out for her arrest for not showing up for her first court date, Dec. 7, when she was supposed to have been there to set a date for a trial on charges of uttering threats, criminal harassment, mischief by damaging property and breaching court orders. Those charges were laid against Noble as a result of an incident involving another woman.

Noble had a charge of failing to attend court added to the list Thursday. She appeared in court in the afternoon and was released on conditions. She’s due back Feb. 20, at which time new dates may be set for her other court cases.

Meanwhile, Noble didn’t testify in Hernandez’s trial, as she told Crown prosecutor Jennifer Colford minutes after her arrest that she couldn’t remember anything and couldn’t attest to Hernandez assaulting her.

With no key witness for the trial, Colford was forced to drop the charges against Hernandez relating to Noble.

“Having met with the complainant, there’s no reasonable prospect of conviction,” Colford told Judge Jacqueline Brazil.

Hernandez did plead guilty to one charge — a breach of probation for failing to heed a judge’s order to attend family violence counselling. Despite having four appointments scheduled at the John Howard Society to arrange programming, Hernandez missed them. When he finally did show and registered for a group session, he was dropped after he also missed meetings.

Since Hernandez had been in custody since Aug. 14, Brazil, following a joint recommendation by Colford and defence lawyer Leslie Pike, agreed to sentence him to time served.

There was no probation order suggested, as Colford noted it would do no good.

“He has to learn on his own, he needs to sort out his life,” she said.

Brazil ended proceedings by saying, “You’re free to go, Mr. Hernandez,” the judge said.

Hernandez smiled slightly, nodded his head, thanked the judge and left the courtroom with sheriff’s officers to sign his release papers.

Rosie.mullaley@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelyRosie

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