Self-defence gets woman out of ‘hot water’
MONTEGO BAY, St James — A woman accused of dousing her sister-in-law with hot water during a three-person brawl has been found not guilty of unlawful wounding. The judge ruled that Jodian Lewis-Atkinson, who had initially been charged with assault occasioning grievous bodily harm, acted in self-defence.
According to the prosecution, the incident took place on August 18, 2021, at Barnett Oval in St James. The complainant, who was having issues with Lewis-Atkinson — who is her sister-in-law — went upstairs to have a conversation with her. Subsequently, Lewis-Atkinson contacted her husband, who is the complainant’s brother.
Upon his arrival at the premises, an argument ensued between all three.
Stones were thrown from downstairs, and the complainant was allegedly hit with one, causing her to run upstairs. Her brother allegedly threw a machete in her direction on her way upstairs, injuring one of her ankles.
On reaching Lewis-Atkinson’s doorway, the complainant was doused with hot water. She sustained burns to her chest and face.
The case went to trial on October 5, and Lewis-Atkinson claimed self-defence. On October 30, her attorney, George Traile, made his closing submission.
In her ruling on Monday, presiding Judge Kaysha Grant-Pryce stated that the sole issue for the tribunal to consider is whether or not the accused woman was acting in self-defence at the time of the attack.
“Looking at the case, it was not a situation where water was thrown from upstairs to downstairs. The complainant was in a rage from morning, so much so that the accused woman had to call her husband for assistance. He had to leave work and come to her rescue,” the judge said.
“This incident did not take place in the yard downstairs,” she continued. “The complainant went up flights of stairs, even though she was attacked, hurting, and bleeding profusely. She still went in rage towards the accused woman.”
The judge stated that there was evidence on the defence case that Lewis-Atkinson acted in self-defence, emphasising that it was a lawful attack.
“It’s a very unfortunate situation, but one must learn to exercise self-control. For these reasons, I found her not guilty of the offence,” Grant-Pryce ruled.
“Somebody was badly hurt…You were also hurt, and this is not the way we resolve issues…If something isn’t working out, you move away,” the judge said before allowing Lewis-Atkinson to leave.