From the Courts
January 5, 2018
Abusive husband escapes jail time

What started as bickering between a husband and wife escalated into something far more serious than just words on the night of December 27.

Michael Young, a Layou resident, was charged with assault, occasioning actual bodily harm to Anesta Edwards-Young, his wife, at the Serious Offences Court last Friday.

Young, whose demeanour at the beginning of his trial was a great deal more composed than at the end, stood up in the witness box in court and faced the magistrate, looking sure of himself.

He confidently answered the charge placed against him with “not guilty” and added a small “but guilty” afterwards.

He was told by Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias that he had to pick one and he should think about it and give her an answer.

Obstinate in his ways, but his composure dropping a little, Young did think about it and instead settled for “guilty with a cause.” The Chief Magistrate then told him that she was entering a guilty plea for him, which he acknowledged.

According to his wife, the story began when she, as a nursing assistant, left to go to her work at the Layou Health Centre and asked her husband before she left to prepare a meal for her for whenever she returned.

However, the defendant was not at home when she returned and there was nothing prepared to eat, which angered her, and she chose to go for a walk. When she returned home and saw the defendant sleeping, she shook him awake and the two began to argue. She said Young then grabbed her by the throat, started squeezing her and slammed her against the porch wall, causing her to sustain injuries.

The defendant was then given the chance of explaining the ‘cause’ that he had for his actions and he launched into an explanation about the details of their argument. He said his wife had asked him why he didn’t cook and he said he told her that all his sisters cook for their husbands and that she then started to choke him. “My wife is a terrible person,” he stated.

Matthias-Browne then stated that he wasn’t easy to go with either. Then, after asking for the man’s wife to be called, the Chief Magistrate was informed that she was not present. She then said to Young that it seemed as if his wife wanted him to go to jail, since she wasn’t there.

The Chief Magistrate then asked him why should he not be sent to jail.

The defendant said that it was the first time that he and his wife had ever had any physical dispute and he didn’t have a problem with alcohol, but only took a drink from time to time. These statements were directly contrary to the statements made in the police report, which cited him as an abusive alcoholic who had a history of verbal and physical abuse towards his wife of five years.

In sentencing, Matthias-Browne noted that there was “quite a bit of tenderness” in the injuries sustained by Edwards-Young, which she would not take lightly, but also deciding, “While I don’t like it, I am going to give you an opportunity to do better.”

She advised the defendant that when his wife was not at home, he should pull his weight and similarly when he was not at home, she should pull hers. She continued by saying that if he hadn’t started pouring syrup on his wife yet, he should start sweetening her up for the New Year. Her final advice to the now subdued man was, “Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you” and “practise the Golden Rule for 2018.”

Throughout this speech, Young wiped his eyes repeatedly to stop his tears from falling.

A bond of $1,000 was granted to the 49-year-old, in default of which he will spend six months in prison.(KR)