On Tuesday, Astros reliever Roberto Osuna agreed to a deal to bring to a close the legal proceedings pending in Ontario for charges filed against Osuna for assault stemming from a domestic-violence incident that occurred earlier this year.
A domestic assault charge against Houston Astros closer Roberto Osuna in Toronto was withdrawn on Tuesday.
In exchange, Osuna agreed to a peace bond, which requires him to not contact the woman he is alleged to have assaulted and to continue counseling. He must comply with the conditions of the bond for one year or face criminal charges, which would carry a maximum sentence of up to four years’ imprisonment.
The bond was worth $500. At least according to one Associated Press report, the impetus behind the deal was that the complainant, Alejandra Román Cota, was unwilling to return to Canada to testify against Osuna.
Speaking in court, prosecutor Catherine Mullaly said the complainant, who lives in Mexico, had made clear she would not travel to Toronto to testify against Osuna.
“The Crown does not have a reasonable prospect of conviction on this charge absent her testimony,” Mullaly told Judge Melvyn Green.
Known formally as a Section 810 recognizance, the peace bond Osuna signed obliges him to continue counselling. He may not have contact with Román Cota without her express written consent. Mullaly also said Osuna had completed counselling both through Major League Baseball and privately with a psychotherapist in Toronto.
Osuna’s lawyer, Domenic Basile, told court that his client’s agreement to enter the peace bond was not to be construed as an admission of guilt, and that the player had insisted all along he was not guilty.
“I wish to make it clear that this is not an admission of criminal or civil liability,” Basile said. “He is content to enter into the peace bond (and) is aware of the conditions and will abide by the conditions.”
It’s worth noting that there were no findings of fact as part of the agreement or issuance of the bond, which isn’t unusual. It does, however, mean there was no adjudication of whether Osuna was legally culpable, meaning the only investigation to reach any conclusions as to the substantive merits of the case remains Major League Baseball’s investigation and subsequent suspension. It’s worth noting that Cota did cooperate with MLB’s investigation, including sitting for at least one interview.
[a] peace bond is a protection order made by a court under section 810 of the Criminal Code. It is used where an individual (the defendant) appears likely to commit a criminal offence, but there are no reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has actually been committed.
In these situations, a person can obtain a peace bond against the defendant from the Court. The Court may impose specific conditions that are designed to prevent the defendant from committing harm to the person, their spouse or common-law partner, their child, or from committing damage their property.
Where the Court accepts the application for the peace bond, the defendant must obey the conditions of the peace bond or else he or she may face criminal charges. Peace bonds can be enforced anywhere in Canada and can be in place for up to one year. If the threat persists after one year, the peace bond can be renewed by application to the Court.
Osuna and the Astros both issued statements after the hearing, as follow.
Roberto Osuna issues statement, and thanks #Astros:
“I am pleased and relieved by today’s court decision. Now I can begin to put these allegations behind me and focus on baseball. I want to thank my family, teammates and fans for believing in me. ‘’
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) September 25, 2018
Astros statement on Roberto Osuna’s charges being withdrawn. pic.twitter.com/WvXf8u57AD
— Scott Mitchell (@ScottyMitchTSN) September 25, 2018
Sheryl Ring is a litigation attorney and General Counsel at Open Communities, a non-profit legal aid agency in the Chicago suburbs. You can reach her on twitter at @Ring_Sheryl. The opinions expressed here are solely the author's. This post is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.