Judge speaks on horrors of domestic abuse
St James, Jamaica — A judge on Wednesday spoke of the horrors of domestic abuse as she offered advice to a woman who accused her boyfriend of stabbing her in the forehead because she was on the phone.
“Ma’am, I’ve sat here long enough to know you’ll call and tell me he’s your boyfriend and that you might perhaps make up with him, which is an unfortunate situation because it’s not normal,” presiding Judge Kaysha Grant-Pryce said inside the St James Parish Court.
A man who beats a woman, she said, is weak and she appealed to women to make better choices.
“It’s very sad that the women who come before me decide to give them another chance all the time until parts of their bodies are mutilated. And even then they come and tell me that they forgive them. Half of their face is chopped off, or sometimes they don’t even get a chance to come back to me and tell me anything because the next time they get beaten they are dead…We’ve had those situations here and I’ve been here long enough to see them,” the judge said.
She was dealing with the case of Cavel Cunningham who pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding.
“Mr Cunningham, what caused you to do this?” Grant-Pryce asked the accused after his guilty plea.
“The situation was my fault…I walked up to the car and saw her sitting in the car talking on the phone. After she was finished talking, I asked her who was on the phone, and she said she was on a ‘live.’ I peeped through the glass and saw that she was on a video call,” Cunningham replied.
“So, are we not allowed to be on a video call?” the judge then asked Cunningham.
“Yes, Your Honour, but at the time we were going through some situation,” the accused explained.
Grant-Pryce then made an order for a social enquiry report. She informed Cunningham that the offence carries a prison sentence and that the purpose of the pre-sentencing report is to determine whether or not there are other alternative sentencing options in relation to the matter.
She then postponed sentencing until October 4 and extended Cunningham’s bail.
According to the allegations, on June 4, the complainant was in her car in the parking lot of a popular entertainment venue in Montego Bay when Cunningham attacked her and stabbed her in the forehead with a knife.
Sisters at war
Kimifa Woozencraft, a frequent visitor to the St James Parish Court, was back on Wednesday for allegedly hitting her sister in the face. It is the latest in a series of family squabbles that has frustrated the restorative justice unit.
Prosecutors allege that on July 14 at about 11:00 pm, in Rosemount, St James, Woozencraft got into an argument with her sister, during which she hit the complainant in the forehead with a meat board, injuring her.
During Wednesday’s proceedings, Woozencraft pleaded not guilty to unlawful wounding.
The clerk informed the court that the parties are involved in an ongoing property dispute, which has resulted in them appearing before the court on a regular basis. The clerk also revealed that the restorative justice unit cannot accept any more matters for them.
Judge Kaysha Grant-Pryce then instructed the clerk that if a case was before the court, it should be tried, and if someone had to go to prison, they should go to prison, and if they had to pay a fine, they should pay it.
The matter was subsequently set for mention on September 22 and Woozencraft’s bail was extended.
In March this year, Woozencraft was involved in an assault case with her brother and another relative, in which they were accused of beating another family member. During their final court appearance, the case was stood down twice for mediation. When it was revisited the second time, the parties assured the court that the situation had been resolved. However, Woozencraft raised an issue about the complainant, which suggested that the problem had never been fixed. The prosecution, however, offered no evidence against them.
Alleged goat thief prepares for trial
A man accused of stealing another’s two goats finds himself in a challenging position as he must gather evidence to present a strong defence to convince the court of his innocence. With the weight of the accusation against him, he must carefully navigate the legal proceedings and provide compelling arguments that challenge the credibility of the accuser’s claims.
Renardo Sterling, who is from St James, pleaded not guilty to simple larceny when he was arraigned in the parish court on Wednesday before presiding Judge Kaysha Grant-Pryce. He has no legal representation.
It is alleged that on June 22 at about 9:48 am, at Ironshore, St James, Sterling was seen holding down the complainant’s goat, which he then placed into a Voxy bus and drove off.
Two days later, a white motor car drove up, grabbed the complainant’s other goat, loaded it into the car, and drove away.
Moments later, the complainant observed the accused exiting the vehicle.
The matter was reported to the police, and when cautioned, Smalling reportedly said, “Officer, I did not steal any goat.”
Smalling wanted to explain the situation in court on Wednesday, but the judge denied him the opportunity to address the allegations because his not guilty plea meant that any explanations or statements he made would be presented during the trial. The decision was made to ensure that all parties involved had a fair and impartial trial.
The matter was then placed on the trial list so that the case file could be prepared for trial.
Judge Grant-Pryce then scheduled the case for mention on September 20 and extended Smalling’s bail.