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The Globe and Mail

Wife denies bringing knife on trip to Jamaica

Cathy Lee Clayson is photographed at her Ajax, Ontario home on Dec. 21, 2011.

Peter Power/Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

On the third day of his cross-examination of his wife in a tense courtroom, teacher Paul Martin finally began challenging her horrifying testimony that he slashed her throat on the last day of the couple's 2010 trip to Jamaica and left her bleeding by the side of the road.

The 46-year-old Mr. Martin, who lives in Whitby, Ont., is representing himself as his wife, 38-year-old Cathy Clayson, seeks a divorce, an order ending his supervised access to their two children and a finding in civil court that he attacked her with a knife on Dec. 23, 2010.

Mr. Martin, who at first claimed the couple was carjacked but changed his story to say Ms. Clayson attacked him, was found not guilty by a Jamaican jury in November, 2011. He returned to Canada and to a teaching job with the Durham Catholic District School Board.

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Despite the intensity of the proceedings in Ontario Superior Court in Oshawa, both Mr. Martin and Ms. Clayson stayed mostly composed, he posing questions firmly but calmly and she replying sometimes with murmured one-word answers.

Most of his questioning over the previous two days was on other subjects, such as asking his wife whether he was a good father and took his children to sports activities, and whether she had breached a court order to allow him supervised access to his children. On Wednesday, for example, he complained that his wife watched soap operas.

But in his questioning on Thursday, he accused Ms. Clayson of bringing the weapon – which she described in her earlier testimony as a gutting knife – to Jamaica because she feared for her safety there. She denied this.

"Isn't it true that you made up a story that we should tell police that we were carjacked?" he asked her.

She said no, and repeated her earlier testimony that she frantically suggested he tell police they were attacked by a Jamaican robber as she pleaded with him after he slashed her throat. "I told you I would say anything … just take me to a hospital."

Ms. Clayson has testified that she fled after the alleged attack, which occurred after Mr. Martin drove the couple's rented SUV to a remote spot outside their Montego Bay resort, ostensibly to take a picture. But her husband grabbed her and returned her to the car. She said in court that he drove away slowly, and said nothing about taking her to hospital.

But Mr. Martin pointed to transcripts of the Jamaican trial and a statement his wife gave to Jamaican police, in which she said he drove quickly and that he told her he was taking her to a hospital.

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He said to her in court that, after she "got cut," he "calmed you and reassured you that you would be fine."

He also questioned her about a gash on the pad of her thumb, which she testified she received as he attacked her for a second time. He asked how it was possible for the cut to be on the inside of her thumb.

In her answer, she raised her voice and looked directly at her husband, motioning toward her neck: "In the very same second I realized my throat was slit … as I was going for my neck, the knife got my thumb."

Ms. Clayson has testified that after she was attacked, and while bleeding from her neck and thumb, she locked the car's rear doors. Mr. Martin asked her if she knew a Jamaican forensic analyst testified at his criminal trial that no blood was found in the rear of the car. Ms. Clayson, who was not allowed to attend the trial in Jamaica except to testify, said she was not.

At one point, he asked her if the fact that no knife was found means he did not attack her with a knife, a question that prompted a gasp from Ms. Clayson's family in the gallery, and an interjection from the judge.

Mr. Martin rephrased his question: "Isn't it true that I didn't attack you with a knife?"

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"Incorrect," Ms. Clayson replied.

Mr. Martin also challenged Ms. Clayson on her account of their t‎rip before the Dec. 23 incident, saying the couple danced together at the resort's disco, kayaked, went to the beach and played volleyball together.

He asked her several times whether she enjoyed the trip, "apart from the events of Dec. 23." The first time, she reiterated her own earlier testimony: "You were very distant, quiet with me, like I was vacationing alone." Later, she acknowledged under questioning that it had been a "good trip," up until its fateful last day.

The trip, court heard, came as the couple's marriage was all but finished and Ms. Clayson had told her husband she wanted to sell their house and go their separate ways in the new year. She told court her husband was controlling, had a violent temper and repeatedly accused her falsely of having an affair – including in the minutes after the alleged attack.

In the afternoon, Justice Roger Timms of the Ontario Superior Court called a recess to allow Mr. Martin to consult a lawyer after Ms. Clayson said she disputed part of the Jamaican trial transcripts, which appear to say she testified that police there actually showed her the weapon used, even though it was never found.

She said she was asked if she had seen "a knife," not the actual knife used. She said Jamaican police had shown her a red Swiss Army knife found on Mr. Martin when he was arrested.

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