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Judge lifts restraining order against former justice minister Jonathan Denis

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated following a Feb, 23, 2019 ruling from Justice John D. Rooke which determined there was no basis for the allegations against Jonathan Denis from his former wife Breanna Palmer. Justice Rooke also ruled Breanna Palmer “lied to the court” and that there was no evidence to support her allegations of spousal abuse by Denis.

CALGARY – An Emergency Protection Order (EPO) granted to the estranged wife of former Justice Minister Jonathan Denis has been revoked.

Queen’s Bench Justice Craig Jones ruled on Monday that the restraining order would be lifted, along with a publication ban on the proceedings.

Breanna Palmer went to a judge on April 24th, and was granted an EPO against Denis and his mother Marguerite. That hearing was closed and Denis was not represented.

Court documents include allegations by Palmer of ongoing verbal abuse, and that Denis was physically abusive on one occasion.

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READ MORE: Jonathan Denis resigns as Alberta justice minister amid legal proceedings with estranged wife

Denis and Palmer were married October 11, 2014.

Court heard testimony that Palmer’s relationship with Denis began falling apart during the couple’s January honeymoon. She told court “he was aggressive and abusive”

Palmer testified about allegations that Denis once told her “you don’t know who you’re f–ing with. I own all the judges…I own the police.”

During lengthy testimony, Palmer alleged that Denis frequently lost his temper and also drained her financially.

“I found him very controlling of finances and abusive in that way too,” she said.

Palmer told the judge the couple’s relationship reached a boiling point the day she moved out, April 13th, claiming there was an altercation over which belongings she took with her and who owned them.

During the altercation, Palmer alleges that Marguerite locked her in the house for a short time while yelling profanities at her.

Police were called to the incident, but Palmer told court the acrimony continued, alleging her car was broken into twice in the following days and that someone had tampered with her clutch and brake lines.

Palmer said she didn’t feel safe, and told the judge Denis would often say, “I own everybody in this town.”

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In seeking an EPO, Palmer claimed Denis had threatened her often. She told the family court judge she was worried that someone might “splash acid in my face”

READ MORE: Court hearing for Jonathan Denis open, publication ban remains

Denis subsequently told a much different story at another court hearing. He explained Palmer’s allegation of physical abuse was the result of what he described as her performing an “intimate act,” during which she was accidentally kneed in the face.

He told court he felt Palmer was “fun to hang out with” but after the honeymoon the relationship went downhill.

Denis subsequently testified about a series of “miscommunications”, saying he found her allegations shocking.

Denis testified that he has never insinuated that he owns the police or judges, and adamantly denied ever threatening Palmer.

READ MORE: Prentice has ‘confidence’ in Denis as PC candidate despite resignation from cabinet

When asked if he ever caused damage to her brakes or clutch, he told court “frankly, I’m a bit of a nerd, I don’t know how to do that.”

Palmer also raised the issue of Denis’ mental health, pointing to the fact that he took the drug lithium. Denis responded by saying the drug has been prescribed by a doctor for years for what he calls “mild depression.” Denis claims he has not shown symptoms for some time.

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Denis says the Emergency Protection Order has caused damage to his career .

“I’m in a profession where reputation… is all I have.”

Palmer, meanwhile, said she was disappointed the EPO was lifted.

Denis is seeking re-election in the riding of Calgary-Acadia in Tuesday’s provincial election.

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