From the Courts
April 27, 2021
Wife beater bonded in sum of $2500

A HUSBAND WHO beat his wife, and was previously remanded in jail for a few weeks to be taught a lesson, has been bonded in the sum of $2500, and ordered to undergo counselling.

Thirty-eight-year-old Francis Williams had appeared at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court on March 24. On this date, after his wife of seven years Maurice Williams, gave evidence at trial detailing how he had hit her several times, he changed his previous claim of innocence to a guilty plea.

He was remanded to await sentencing on April 13, but due to the explosive eruptions at La Soufrière, which began on April 9, the country was covered with ash, and there was no pipe borne water in many communities.

Therefore, it wasn’t until Monday, April 19 that Francis returned to court to hear his fate.

This is not the first time the two have been before the court in a situation where Francis was charged for assault.

His wife said that she had dropped a previous case against him because she did not want him to lose his job.

“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 had told Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett in March.

“…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,” she had said.

The parents to three children had apparently been living in the same house but distantly for approximately seven months.

On January 4, 2020, at about 7:30pm, the husband arrived at their Cemetery Hill home, after clocking out at work.

He asked his wife to unplug her charging phone because he wanted to check a setting someone had told him about recovering lost data. She was standing next to him when he was on her phone, and he questioned why she was doing that before giving her back the phone, and saying “look your phone”.

The facts are that an argument about infidelity and trust issues broke out, which became physical. The defendant slapped his wife in the face at least three times.

His wife, who went outside in her towel to try to escape him at one point, dressed and went to her work place and called the police.

When she was given a form to take to a medical doctor, it was noted that she had tenderness to the left side of her face.

Francis admitted verbally that he had gotten into a fight with his wife.

At court last Monday, the wife indicated that she had left the matrimonial home the day before. She told the magistrate that she was not afraid of her husband.

The prosecution, led by crown counsel Rose-Ann Richardson, submitted that a fine may be the most appropriate sentence.

“…The thing about fine is that I don’t think he has a job right about now. He had a job then, but I don’t think he would still have a job now,” the magistrate said.

The prosecution suggested that he be given time to pay the fine.

“…I don’t understand how a man would want to abuse his wife in this way. We have been having too much of that in St Vincent and the Grenadines and I know the society at large is very much concerned about these type of matters,” the judicial officer said.

And society has been generally unhappy with the response of the court in these matters.

“…Because if you are to follow the society at large you know, they are of the view that persons convicted for these types of offences, the whole building should come down on their head,” Burnett stated, “… but that’s not the way the court operates.”

“…Generally I get the feeling that the population at large seems not to feel that the court is doing enough to deter defendants,” from these types of offences, the magistrate also said.

The wife said that she did not want any compensation from her spouse.

In addressing the defendant, the magistrate told him that when he leaves the courtroom on that day, to make it the last time he laid hands on a woman.

“Don’t do it. If you have a female companion and both of you can’t make it, move on. Don’t hit her, she’s not your child…,” Burnett told him.

The magistrate’s first order was for one year of counselling, to end on April 19, 2022. There will be two reports provided to the court; at the end of six months and at the end of the year.

Secondly, Francis was bonded for one year in the sum of $2500. If he breaches the bond he will pay this sum forthwith, or spend six months in prison.

In cautioning Francis not to re-offend, the magistrate said: “I know you may be angry with her, but you can’t be angry with her, you have to be angry with yourself, okay?”

“…you caused this on yourself, and what was done to you was not done by her,” he noted.