Jamaican court clears Toronto teacher in attack on wife
An Ajax elementary school teacher accused of slashing his wife’s throat during a vacation in Jamaica last December has been acquitted.
Paul Martin, who taught grades 5 and 6 at St. Francis de Sales school in Ajax, was “overcome by emotion” when the verdict was read in a Hanover, Jamaica court on Tuesday, according to his lawyer.
Martin, 43, was found not guilty of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. He was originally charged with attempted murder, but those charges were reduced.
Prosecutors had alleged that Martin cut his wife’s throat on the last day of the couple’s vacation near Montego Bay last December. They were married in 2004 and have two young children.
Martin’s wife Cathy-Lee Clayson testified that while they were driving in a rented SUV, he took her to an isolated area, slashed her throat with a knife and tried to strangle her.
Clayson, a bank manager in Ajax, declined to comment to the Star. But a private lawyer she hired to help prosecute the case said although the prosecution accepts the verdict, his client is “quite devastated.”
“She’s at a loss given that from day one, she has spoken the truth.” Nathan Robb said.
As Martin left the courthouse and walked past Clayson, she shouted out at him, calling him a “coward” and a “bastard,” Robb said.
In an unsworn statement from the dock, Martin said it was his wife who attacked him with a knife, according to the Jamaica Gleaner. He said he was defending himself from her attack when she was cut.
The five-man, two-woman jury deliberated for an hour before reaching a verdict in the 11-day trial.
According to Martin’s lawyer Jacqueline Samuels-Brown, one of Clayson’s family members looked at Martin and said “see you in Ajax” after the jury read the verdict.
Samuels-Brown grilled Clayson during cross-examination and suggested she was the aggressor of the fight. Shortly after the verdict, Samuels-Brown told the Star the trial came down to Clayson’s testimony.
“Her lack of credibility was demonstrated and unraveled before the jury’s eyes,” she said.
But Robb said Clayson “wasn’t discredited in any way” during her testimony.
Samuels-Brown suggested Cathy-Lee had agreed to tell police that an armed robber had attacked the couple, according to reports.
Robb pointed out that Clayson never denied saying that, but maintained she did so in a desperate effort to save her own life, pleading with Martin to take her to a hospital.
He added that Martin initially told police a story about an outside attacker, which included a description of an assailant.
Clayson was later picked up by another vehicle and driven to hospital.
Martin was imprisoned in Jamaica for four months following the incident. He was released on bail in April but forced to remain in the country.
Martin’s mother, accompanied by her husband, was in attendance for the verdict. His siblings attended the trial intermittently. Martin is the brother of physician and former British Columbia MP Keith Martin.
Martin plans to return to Canada soon, his lawyer said.
“He’s been away long enough.”
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