A teacher from Whitby, Ont., who was acquitted in Jamaica of slashing his wife’s throat four years ago was cross-examined about the alleged incident for the first time on Friday in an Oshawa courtroom.
The couple’s story made headlines in December, 2010, after Cathy Clayson, 38, accused her husband Paul Martin, 46, of slashing her throat with a gutting knife and then leaving her at the side of the road during a Jamaican vacation. Mr. Martin said at first that local robbers attacked them, but later claimed Ms. Clayson attacked him first and he was defending himself.
Mr. Martin was put on trial in the case in Jamaica in 2011, where he was found not guilty after spending most of the year in jail. He was allowed to give a statement at the trial rather than face cross examination.
Questioning from Ms. Clayson’s lawyer, Martha McCarthy, became heated at times, as she suggested Mr. Martin was embellishing his statements and evidence.
“In Jamaica, you had several opportunities to tell the truth … and during this trial you had the opportunities to tell the truth,” Ms. McCarthy said to Mr. Martin. “I’m going to suggest to you that you have continued to not tell the truth.”
Ms. McCarthy confronted Mr. Martin about changing his stories about what happened in Jamaica, starting with his claim of being robbed, which he admitted was false – but only after months in jail and a criminal trial.
“You did not go to the Crown, the police, and say, ‘I made a false statement,’ ” Ms. McCarthy said. “You knew at that time that it was possible that they could have arrested someone else for the attack you claimed had happened.”
“That would have been horrible, yes,” Mr. Martin replied.
Ms. McCarthy also addressed the respondent’s evolving accounts of injuries that he alleged he sustained defending himself in a struggle with his wife. Mr. Martin’s original statement said he received defensive wounds. He later amended it to include “cuts, scratches and bruises.”
“And you told us before that you haven’t embellished or exaggerated in your evidence,” Ms. McCarthy said.
Mr. Martin, spoke softly and at times dodged Ms. McCarthy’s questions about what happened in Jamaica with long, noncommittal answers.
“Is the witness going to be permitted to endlessly speak as if we were at Starbucks or something?” Ms. McCarthy asked Ontario Superior Court Justice Roger Timms.
Ms. Clayson is seeking a divorce, an end to Mr. Martin’s supervised access to their two young children, damages of $350,000 and a finding in civil court that her husband attacked her.
This being a civil trial, Ms. Clayson’s lawyers must prove their case only on a “balance of probabilities” rather than the higher standard of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, as is required in a criminal trial.
Cross-examination will continue Tuesday.