From the Courts
April 1, 2021
Wife beater to reflect behind bars for two weeks before sentencing

A 38-YEAR-OLD MAN has been sent to prison until April 13, when he will be sentenced for acts of violence against his wife, who is also the mother of his three children.

Maurice Williams’ frustrations with her husband’s actions seemed to spill over when she was speaking before Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, March 24.

Her spouse of seven years, Francis Williams, who was charged with assaulting her, causing her actual bodily harm, had appeared in court the day before, on Tuesday, March 23, where he had apparently given the court the impression that his wife no longer wanted to proceed with the matter.

This was not so, as his wife went to court the following day and gave her evidence. After this, her husband admitted that he committed the offence, changing his plea to ‘Guilty’.

“I said if I am to call off this matter – because you make me call off one before and you attack me again – make sure you remember you leaving or I leaving. One ah we going we separate ways,” the frustrated woman made clear.

It is not the first time that Francis has been charged with an offence, but in a previous case, his wife chose not to provide evidence to the court. Her reasons for this was that she did not want him to lose his job. She claimed that after she abandoned that matter in court, her husband “assaulted me like three times after that.”

“I never told you I’m going to call off the matter. I never said that. Do not lie on me. I never said I’m going to call off the matter,” she told her husband, who was standing in the dock opposite her.

“I said to you I forgive you for what you did to me, but that does not mean I am sticking with you. I am still leaving,” the mother said, explaining that it had been seven months since they began living separately in their marital house.

Her husband had reasoned, according to her, that they always go their separate ways and then get back together again, so why do they have to go through this whole “long pants” process.

“I said to Mr Williams like this, because this time I had enough. Enough is enough. And I want to move on with my life because I’m not happy and I’m not staying in a marriage unhappy to please you nor nobody, nor the public. I’m not walking with my head high, with a smile broad on my face pretending like everything is okay,” she stated.

“…I’ve had it up here. This is not one, two, three, four, five; this constant abuse before we even married, and I can’t do it no more. I told him this,” the wife stated.

She said that her whole side hurt after a previous incident, where her husband allegedly stamped and kicked her. “…and I forget about that, poor him,” she noted.

Her husband had said he made a mistake on that day because of frustration, and that sometimes he takes his problems home from work.

Ultimately, the court moved to imprison Francis until April 13 when he will be sentenced for the act.

“You going send him jail?” the wife said, and after a paused, asked, “Why?”

As there were some reactions to this in the courtroom, the mother followed up, “No, not in a bad way,” and revealed that she didn’t want him to lose his job.

“…I am contemplating as part of changing Mr Williams to separate both of you for two weeks and let him stay inside, and he will go through a period of reflection and when he comes back out I will sentence him and no one is going to take me off that course. I have a duty not only to both of you, but to society at large as well…,” the magistrate told her.

“When I sentence individuals, I don’t only send messages to parties, but the public has an interest in how the court operates as well. So nobody is going to take me off this course, I’m sorry,” he concluded.

In the meantime, the judicial officer will consider an appropriate sentence for the January 4, 2020 crime. The court had heard that at Cemetery Hill on the said date, the husband had just arrived home from work, and a little while after this he asked his wife if she was using her phone. Her phone was charging, but he wanted her to unplug it so that he could try a setting to recover lost data. Francis had told her she could stand beside him while he was doing this but, according to Maurice, after she stood beside him, he questioned why she was doing this and then gave her back her phone, saying “Look your phone”.

She said she told him that she already gave him the phone and he didn’t do what he wanted to do, and that this was his business. He followed as she walked to the bedroom and asked, “who the f*** you think you be?”, before pulling the phone from her hand and hitting her. He then said, concerning the phone, that if it’s one night they would get into “serious thing”, it was that night. He apparently said to his wife that she could “bawl” all she wanted, and he wouldn’t care.

She then went outside in the yard, and her husband hit her twice in her face.

“Look people watching” she told him, but he responded that he didn’t care, and to let them watch. She told the magistrate that no one was watching , but she just said that to get him to leave her alone. She then formulated what she described as an escape plan. As she was clothed only in her towel, she went upstairs and put on her dress, and said that she had to go to the supermarket where she works. She left, and he followed her to the supermarket. When she arrived, she spoke to someone who is in a senior position and asked for a phone call. She then called the police.