CALGARY - A judge facing two very different versions of who attacked whom has found a former Canadian Football League all-star guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend.
"I do not believe the testimony of the accused," Judge Brian Stevenson said Monday in convicting Joffrey Reynolds of assault causing bodily harm and common assault. "I am not left with any reasonable doubt."
Stevenson also convicted Reynolds, 33, of being unlawfully in a dwelling. He acquitted him of the original charge of break and enter with intent.
Reynolds's one-time girlfriend had testified at his trial that he tried to choke and smother her when she came home and found him in her bed after a night of drinking.
Kaitlin Ward, 27, had dated Reynolds for six years before ending their relationship in December 2011 upon discovering he had been cheating on her.
Ward said they were trying to determine if they could "salvage'' their relationship when she allowed him to stay with her for a couple of days after his house went into foreclosure.
Ward testified she told Reynolds at a party that he had to get out of her house. She said Reynolds got angry and kicked her in the back of the leg and was waiting for her when she got home.
Reynolds testified that it was Ward, who is seven inches taller than he is, who attacked him in a jealous rage.
Stevenson said he found the victim to be the most believable.
"I accept Miss Ward's testimony. I do not accept Mr. Reynolds testimony he was trying to calm her down," the judge said.
"He was using as much force as necessary to convince Miss Ward to allow him to stay."
Reynolds was allowed to remain free on bail despite the Crown's argument that he should be taken into custody immediately. Stevenson, who ordered a pre-sentence report, said Reynolds was not a flight risk.
A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for April 8. Reynolds was also ordered to provide a DNA sample to the Calgary police and faces a 10-year weapons prohibition.
Ward outlined her version of the attack during her testimony.
"I was shocked,'' she said. "I went by the front door to shoo him out. That's when he kind of tackled me.''
Ward told Stevenson that Reynolds was sitting on top of her.
"He's smothering my mouth and choking me. Shoving his chin into my neck,'' she said. "I was gasping for air at that point.''
Ward said Reynolds was yelling at her while he had his hands around her neck, pulled her to her feet by her hair and knocked her to the floor again.
"He kind of jumped from behind and put his knee into my back and started choking me again.''
Reynolds testified he had fallen asleep at Ward's condo and woke to her hitting him in a jealous rage.
"She's agitated. She says I'm a cheater and a liar and she's yelling by now. I had my back turned to her and she hits me in the back and the head,'' Reynolds told the court.
He said Ward, who is six-foot-five, is a strong woman and he wanted to calm her down. Reynolds is five-foot-10.
"She's a tall, athletic woman. I'm kind of on edge. I kind of get her in a bear hug. She's yelling to the point that she's mad and crying.
"I did a kind of manoeuvre where I got a knee in her back and rode her to the ground. I restrained her. I'm trying to calm her down.''
Reynolds is from Texas and played college football at the University of Houston.
He played eight years for the Stampeders and was the franchise's all-time leading rusher with 9,213 yards.
He was named a CFL all-star four times and won a Grey Cup championship with the Stampeders in 2008 before his release in 2012.