Toronto Sun

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

Love has an uphill fight

Vietnamese tells court of angry battle with his wife

By DICK CHAPMAN, TORONTO SUN

Love may conquer all, but it certainly has an uphill battle in a North York courtroom this week.

A Vietnamese woman accused of dangling her 17-month-old baby out the window of a moving vehicle July 14 had been threatened with deportation a few minutes earlier by her husband, a court heard yesterday.

Court heard the couple, who had been living on Eglinton Ave. West, had argued over custody of the child. The woman tried to go to a shelter with their baby, and her husband pulled her hair and dragged her by the arm along the shoulder of Highway 401.

Still, the star witness against the woman, charged with aggravated assault by endangering their child's life, just wants his young family back together. "I ask the court to just discharge her, give her a chance," the Vietnamese man testified yesterday. "I ask the court to bring us back together as husband and wife."

'NEWCOMER TO CANADA'

"She's a newcomer to Canada," the man said of the stunningly beautiful, petite, fine-boned woman with jet-black hair and eyes. "I know she's not going to harm the baby. She just wanted to scare me, but she didn't mean to do a bad thing.

"If I plead guilty, please, let something happen to me ... I think she was just trying to scare me. She doesn't have the courage to drop the baby. I knew she wouldn't."

The man agreed he tugged on her arm, but denied striking her or pulling her hair.

She is also charged with being a common nuisance "by holding a child outside the window of a moving vehicle," as well as two counts of breaching bail conditions -- entering the couple's residence on Eglinton Ave. West, and communicating with her estranged husband.

The man agreed in testimony the couple voluntarily violated those bail orders together.

MAN ADMITS ANGER

Witnesses told police the woman leaned out the rear driver's side window with her baby, waving a free hand and yelling, "Help me! Help me!" court was told

The man's wife told him just prior to the incident she wanted to move into a women's shelter with the child, the trial was told. The man agreed he'd warned her in the midst of a heated argument in their moving vehicle that if he called police and she was arrested again, she'd be sent back to Vietnam.

"I was angry but I was controlled. She was angry but she couldn't control herself," the man testified.

Crown prosecutor Joe Callaghan told the court a tow-truck operator took the baby from the couple as they struggled after getting out of the Jeep.

The trial continues today.

Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.