Man jailed five months for assaulting woman, threatening cop

Gary Kean
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CORNER BROOK — A man who assaulted a woman and threatened a police officer in two separate incidents has been sent to prison for the next five months

Benjamin Arthur Roberts, 33, was arrested earlier this week for breaching a condition of an undertaking, namely to not have any communication with the woman he assaulted.

When Roberts appeared in provincial court Thursday morning, he entered guilty pleas to two breaches of an undertaking, as well as the outstanding assault and uttering threats charges. He had a charge of theft and two other charges involving the same woman, including uttering threats and breaching a court order, withdrawn by Crown attorney Adam Sparkes in light of the guilty pleas.

The assault against the woman, with whom Roberts is in a relationship, happened in August 2012. The court heard Roberts and the woman were both intoxicated and had gotten into a verbal altercation. An eyewitness who later intervened told police he saw Roberts strike the woman twice in the head area.

The woman did not want the police involved when the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary showed up. When interviewed months later, the woman said she did not have a clear memory of the incident because of her level of intoxication.

The uttering threats charge was laid in October 2012 after the RNC responded to a report of a disturbance in the Curling area. Roberts was detained by the police for being intoxicated in public and threatening an officer while being transported to the lockup.

Sparkes told Judge Wayne Gorman that Roberts told the officer, “you’re getting tapped up, you f****er.”

The latest incident from earlier this week involved police, responding to a disturbance complaint, finding Roberts at the home of the woman he had assaulted. The woman told police she had invited Roberts there and that she was the source of the commotion heard by the person who had called police.

Sparkes asked for a total of five months in prison, including three months for the assault and one month each for the threats and court order breaches. Sparkes said this was a lenient sentence because, despite Roberts having a prior criminal record, the offences he was charged with would have been difficult to prosecute.

Not noticeably injured

Sparkes noted the victim in the assault was still in a relationship with Roberts, was not co-operative with police and had told police she did not have a good recollection of the assault. The Crown also noted the woman was not noticeably injured in the assault, which also made prosecution more difficult than if injuries had been more evident.

Legal-aid duty counsel Jonathan Regan told Gorman this was a joint submission on sentencing and he supported the range of incarceration and one year of probation suggested by Sparkes.

Regan did note that, on the night he uttered threats against the RNC officer, Roberts had been inside the residence before police showed up. He was only arrested after he came outside the home and was deemed to be publicly intoxicated.

Being arrested, when he never would have been had he remained indoors, caused Roberts to become frustrated and his anger was subsequently directed at the arresting officer, said Regan.

Gorman endorsed the joint submission, including a probation condition that Roberts have no communication whatsoever with the victim, unless invited to do so by her. He was also subjected to a DNA order and a five-year firearms prohibition.

Geographic location: CORNER BROOK, Curling

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