Cape Breton's Malkie Woodland & Vanessa Dwyer

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

Vanessa Dwyer

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Cape Breton Post

SYDNEY — Despite a New Waterford woman’s tearful plea that she was innocent and should be immediately released from jail, her request was denied and a bail hearing is now scheduled for today.

Vanessa Corrine Dwyer, 33, of Mahon Street, cried throughout her video appearance Wednesday in Sydney provincial court. She had been arrested the night before and charged with breaching her release conditions.

“I don’t want to be in here (correctional center). I'm innocent and you won’t let me explain,” sobbed Dwyer.

Vanessa Mad

Provincial court Judge Diane McGrath told the accused now was not the time to try and explain her circumstances but Dwyer kept interrupting attempting to get her side of the story before the court.

“You need to be quiet,” said the judge, noting there were eight new charges before the court alleging Dwyer failed to abide by her release conditions.

Snake eyes....

“I am innocent,” said Dwyer continually.

“Where is the proof that I did all this stuff? I have mental health issues and should not be in here!” she said.

Dwyer was released on conditions last month after being charged with multiple offences including assault with a weapon and numerous breaches.

She is now charged with eight counts of breaching that release order by failing to stay out of New Waterford, failing to reside where ordered and failing to remain away from Mahon Street.

Dwyer said she only went to the street to retrieve some personal items from the home that she was ordered to stay away from. She said she knew the homeowner was not at home at the time.

It is that kind of admission judges routinely discourage accused from stating prior to pleas being taken on charges.



The effects of a toxic domestic relationship has resulted in an Amherst woman recording her first criminal convictions.

Vanessa Corrine Dwyer, 33, came to Cape Breton in 2019 after meeting a New Waterford man online.

Online Predator

Defence lawyer Christa Thompson told the court that shortly after her client moved in, the relationship soured and Dwyer found herself with no local support system.

As a result, she said, Dwyer kept returning to the relationship despite court orders on both individuals not to have contact with each other.

She said Dwyer suffered a permanent brain injury after a 1999 motorcycle accident and has been diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Thompson said Dwyer found the relationship was accented by aggression and controlling behaviors.


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It was a much calmer Dwyer who appeared by video in Sydney provincial court Tuesday from the Burnside jail in Dartmouth.

During an earlier appearance, Dwyer cried throughout much of the proceeding and kept repeating she was innocent and that no one believed her.

She pleaded guilty Tuesday to nine counts of breaching court orders by having repeated contact with the New Waterford man from whom she was ordered to stay away.

She was credited with spending 59 days on remand and sentenced to complete a 12-month probation period. Among the conditions, Dwyer is to have no contact with her former partner and is to take all counselling as recommended by her probation officer.

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“From all accounts, the relationship was toxic and you now find yourself involved in the criminal justice system for the first time in your life,” said provincial court Judge Diane McGrath, in passing sentence that was a joint recommendation by prosecutor Gerald MacDonald and Thompson.

“You are to have no contact with him,” stressed McGrath, adding even if the former partner begs to have contact the consequence of such would be Dwyer going back in jail.

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“No one is allowed to continue to contact you against your wishes,” said the judge, urging Dwyer to report to police any time her former partner reaches out to her.

“Look at this order (probation) as something to help you,” she said.

Dwyer apologized for her actions and said she plans on moving forward with her life with support systems now being offered in the community.

“Don’t take this the wrong way but I hope to never see you again,” said the judge.

Dwyer laughed and smiled replying it was her intent also not to see the judge again.

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A bail hearing for a New Waterford woman has been adjourned until Monday.

Vanessa Corrine Dwyer, 33, of Mahon Street, was scheduled to have the hearing Friday but instead consented to a further remand.

She is charged with eight counts of breaching a court order by failing to stay out of New Waterford, failing to reside where ordered and failing to remain away from Mahon Street.

The breaches follow her release last month on multiple charges including assault with a weapon and numerous breaches.