File photo: Tom Zytaruk

File photo: Tom Zytaruk

Guilty plea overturned, new trial ordered for Surrey man accused of wife assault

Entire process has to start over again in Surrey provincial court, judge decides

A Surrey man who pleaded guilty in Surrey provincial court to assaulting his wife of 28 years has had his conviction and sentence overturned after claiming he was denied the right to a fair trial because he was not properly represented by his lawyer.

“The appeal is allowed, the guilty plea, finding of guilt, and sentence are set aside, and the matter is remitted to the provincial court,” Justice Paul Riley decided in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. “This would mean the entire process would have to start over again in the provincial court.”

This is despite the fact Roman Chromy pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced based on a joint submission from the Crown and defence.

“At first blush, one might reasonably ask how Mr. Chromy could possibly advance an appeal in such circumstances. However, the focus of Mr. Chromy’s appeal is on the validity of his guilty plea,” Riley noted in his May 21 reasons for judgment. “He says he was not properly represented by his trial counsel, and that he did not understand the nature and consequences of his plea. He says, as a result, that his presumption of innocence was overridden and he was denied the right to a fair trial.“

The court heard the charge arose from an incident at Chromy’s home in Surrey on May 3, 2020, when his family was having a barbecue. An argument broke out between Chromy, his sister and his wife, Riley noted, and Chromy “got angry” and allegedly grabbed his wife by the neck. His son intervened, hitting his dad in the face.

“The police attended and arrested Mr. Chromy, who was described by the police as inebriated,” Riley noted.

READ ALSO: Appeal court adds 18 months to Surrey woman abuser’s prison term

Chromy was held in custody overnight, then released on bail. The joint submission, in Surrey provincial court, was for Chromy to receive a conditional discharge with 12 months probation, to which the judge agreed.

But Chromy was not pleased with the outcome and filed a notice of appeal on Nov. 3, 2o20. Chromy filed an affidavit saying he is not guilty and would not have pleaded guilty if he’d been told he would have a criminal record.

Riley noted that for a guilty plea to be valid it must be voluntary and informed.

“I find that Mr. Chromy did not in fact understand that his plea was an admission of the essential elements of the offence of assault,” Riley decided.

“I am satisfied on a balance of probabilities that had Mr. Chromy been properly informed about the nature and consequences of the plea, he would have proceeded differently, and would not have entered a guilty plea.”

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram  and follow Tom on Twitter

BC Supreme CourtLaw & JusticeSurrey

Just Posted

A Grade 8 class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
B.C.’s return-to-school plan good, but Surrey teachers hope there is room for adjustments

Surrey school district to receive $1.76M of the $25.6M provincial pandemic-related funding

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Pier has reportedly been unused for a long time

This year’s Virtual Hike for Hospice raised just over $30,000 with the support of participants including Marlene. (Contributed photo)
PHOTOS: Virtual hike raises $30K for Peace Arch Hospice Society

Community support smashes fundraising goal

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read