An emergency protection order has been lifted against former Alberta justice minister Jonathan Denis after a judge determined that his wife was not at risk of being hurt.
Denis stepped down from his cabinet post after it emerged that “legal proceedings” had begun in Calgary between him and his wife Breanna Palmer, a news release said last week.
On Monday, a Court of Queen’s Bench judge lifted a publication ban in the review of the restraining order, The Calgary Herald reported.
“I am satisfied that Ms. Palmer is not in danger of family violence and is not in need of protection,” Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Craig Jones said.
Denis and Palmer — a model, photographer, and dancer — began dating in the spring of 2013 and got married by the fall of 2014, but the union later broke down, said CTV News.
On April 12, police were called to the couple’s home when Palmer was moving out with the help of friends, reported CBC News. One of those helpers, Margot Anderson, said in court that an angry Denis began yelling at his wife. No charges were laid in the incident.
Palmer, who accused Denis of physical, emotional, and financial abuse, received a protection order two weeks later.
Palmer alleged Denis kneed her in the face, tampered with her car’s brakes and threw temper tantrums all while their months-long marriage fell apart earlier this year.
Palmer told the court hearing that Denis once left her with a bloody nose after putting her in a headlock and kneeing her.
Denis, however, said he accidentally hit her with his knee after she stunned him while he was sleeping, and has apologized for it.
‘I own everybody in this town’
The former minister allegedly told Palmer that she couldn’t report him because “I own all the judges,” The Globe and Mail reported.
In a written statement, she claimed that he told her: “You can’t go to the police, I own everybody in this town.”
Denis has denied he was ever abusive to his wife, telling the court that she was a jealous person who threatened to make up fake claims against him.
Palmer provided a lengthy list of complaints against Denis, including that he ripped a TV out of the wall and the seat off a toilet as the relationship eroded.
She alleged her car was broken into twice and both her clutch and brakes were damaged. She also alleged Denis’s mother once locked her in the couple’s home.
“She indicated they were both miserable,” said Jones, who noted that not all of the allegations held up under cross-examination.
“Ripping the TV from the wall may not have been an accurate description of what actually happened,” the judge said.
Alberta Conservative Leader Jim Prentice requested that Denis remove himself from his cabinet position a day after the protection order was issued.
The Wildrose Party called for Denis to resign Monday given the “serious allegations” revealed when the publication ban was lifted.
Prentice refused to cut Denis loose, and he remains a Tory candidate in Calgary-Acadia.
“A marriage breakdown is a tragic circumstance for all involved. And that is what this remains, a matrimonial dispute that continues to be extremely difficult for both of these people,” he said in a statement.
Denis hugged his lawyer after the decision and made a brief statement outside court.
“The court has totally thrown out the action against my mother and I. It’s been a very difficult week for my family and friends, but I’m so thankful for all the people across the province who have contacted me,” Denis said. “My priority in the next 24 hours is taking this suit off and getting back to the doors and winning Calgary Acadia.“
CLARIFICATION: A previous headline on this story may have suggested there is still a restraining order against Jonathan Denis. As reported in the story, this is not the case.
With files from The Canadian Press
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