Nfld. & Labrador

Ray Newman, acquitted in Chrissy Predham Newman killing, on trial for assault charges

A man acquitted more than five years ago of killing his estranged wife went on trial in St. John's today for allegedly assaulting and choking another woman.

Newman was acquitted of the murder charge in 2012 after being accused of murdering his estranged wife

Ray Newman sits in a St. John's courtroom on Tuesday. He's charged with assaulting Nicole Young. (CBC)

A man acquitted more than five years ago of killing his estranged wife went on trial in St. John's on Tuesday for allegedly assaulting and choking another woman.

More that a decade ago, the Ray Newman case made headlines when the body of Chrissy Predham-Newman was found in her apartment in the Airport Heights neighbourhood of St. John's in January 2007.

Her throat had been slashed. Following a lengthy investigation, Newman would be charged two years later with her murder.

But three years after that, a judge ruled Newman's rights had been violated during a police interview, and Newman was found not guilty.

Bruce Harvey is the uncle of Chrissy Predham-Newman, who was killed in St. John's in 2007. (CBC)

Predham-Newman's uncle, Bruce Harvey, said what took place over the past 10 years has gone beyond the point of just being emotionally draining.

"I'm going to say something that may be have some backlash against me, and people may judge me, but I really don't care," said Harvey.

"Through the whole process for the past 10 years or so, my life went in a very dark place. I didn't know how to cope with everything that was going on. And throughout that time, and I'm embarrassed, but throughout that time, I got so low I tried to take my life after all this."

The court was shown photos of Nicole Young's injuries on Tuesday.

Harvey was in court today for the start of Newman's current trial. 

"Just to speak to Ray Newman's character," he said. "I walked into court today, and he walked past me and he smiled and he asked me did I bring a rope with me?"

"I said jokingly before, Ray Newman and Nalcor, Muskrat Falls, are the biggest friggin' taxpayer drain on money in this province."

Nicole Young had visible injuries to her face after the alleged altercation with Newman. (CBC)

Nicole Young says she was living with Ray Newman this past September when he grabbed her, and choked her.

Young told the court, "I felt like I was fighting for my life."

She said they had been out drinking at the Westside Charlie's in Paradise, and were both drunk.

Young said she and Newman began bickering on the drive home, and that the argument escalated into a fight inside Newman's house in Paradise where they were living.

Newman had assaulted her before, she said, and she was sick of it and fought back.

Young said Newman dragged her down the hall by the leg and that she kicked to get free, and he put her up against a wall and choked her until she saw black.

"I got a breath," she said, and then when she could see, she struck him in the nose.

For his part, Bruce Harvey says he believes what Young is telling the court is the truth.

"The broad picture is I'm down here in support of women and violence against women. But I do have a vested interest. I'm down her for my niece, Chrissy Predham-Newman." 

Newman's lawyer, Brian Wentzell, says nothing is guaranteed but Newman will likely take the stand in his own defence.

Young finished giving her evidence today. The trial is slated to resume May 17. 

Newman and Predham-Newman had a child, who was two when her mother was killed. The girl can't be named because of a court order.

"Chrissy's daughter is doing great," Harvey said. "I watched Chrissy grow up, and I'm watching Chrissy grow up again in her daughter." 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Glenn Payette

Videojournalist

A veteran journalist with more than 30 years' experience, Glenn Payette is a videojournalist with CBC News in St. John's.

now