Left to Right: Shorn Bynoe & Ava Charles
From the Courts
August 10, 2021
Woman beater gets 16 months jail time

A 31-year-old man has been sent to prison for 16 months for beating his 43-year-old lover about her body with a piece of board on May 22, 2021.

Shorn Bynoe was also found to have, a few hours after the beating, burned Ava Charles’ clothes including her underwear, and other items valued $427.50.

For destroying these items, Bynoe was sentenced to nine months imprisonment; but the longest period of time he will spend in prison overall is 16 months, as the sentences handed down yesterday, August 9, are to run concurrently.

Bynoe was afforded a full trial at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court (KMC) before he was pronounced guilty of assault causing actual bodily harm, and damage to property. Having been found guilty he faced maximum penalties of five years and two years incarceration
respectively.

Charles, who gave evidence last Wednesday, said she was living in Lowmans Hill with Bynoe, who is also called ‘Red Dog’, and the two of them had a “little” relationship. Around 2 a.m on the day in question, she testified that she went by a shop to purchase barbecue, while Bynoe was at another shop. She said Bynoe approached her, and slapped her in her face, knocking her earring out and her drink.

When Prosecutor Sergeant Cornelius Tittle asked her why Bynoe did this, Charles responded “to tell you the truth” she was having a drink.

However, when asked if it is that Bynoe doesn’t want her to drink, she replied that it wasn’t really this, but that she’s not really supposed to be around other men.

After this slap, she went home to cry because she was embarrassed and ashamed. After a while she heard a knock on the door, and it was Bynoe, who wanted to come in.

He apparently accused her of letting other people touch her “cat” and chest. He had a piece of board with him, which he used to beat her all over her body, she said. During the beating, she did not say anything, but recalled that all she could do was cry. The beating lasted, Charles estimated, for half an hour. At some point her boyfriend went outside and upstairs, and she used this opportunity to “escape”, and go by a neighbour. This neighbour wasn’t awake, so she slept by the porch.

When she was awakened, Charles went by the neighbour’s gate and saw Bynoe burning her blanket, shoes, and underwear by a lime tree in their yard. She felt this was because he didn’t want her there in his “place”.

Bynoe represented himself in court. In questioning his former girlfriend he submitted that, where it concerns the slap, he and the man she was with at the shop aren’t friends. They had had a discussion about him before, the defendant said, and she had told the defendant about him propositioning her. He claimed Charles had said to slap her in the face if she spoke to him, and on the night she was “jammed up” beside the man on the bench.

Charles said she wouldn’t tell a man to hit her, and wouldn’t want a man to “brutalize” her.

The defendant also claimed that Charles was drinking, and told him to haul his “stinking mother [expletive]”.

He said when he went back home, Charles confronted him about coming home late, telling him “gone go meet” his “[expletive] women”.

He said she was using cocaine at that time, which Charles roundly denied.

She also denied that she had the board and a knife hidden by the bed which she used to attack him.

After a series of questions where Charles denied everything, the defendant said he felt like a “pappy show” because she just “deny, deny”.

However, as is the practice, once the prosecution’s case was finished, the defendant got his chance to present his side of the story.
During his evidence, Bynoe repeated some of what he had said before, but did not speak about the shop incident.

When he arrived at their home, he said he began changing his clothes and noticed that Charles was smoking. When his back was turned, he said she lunged at him with a knife and he barely avoided this, and it caught him on the edge of his finger. He cursed and asked her “is kill you trying to kill me just so”? They “wrastled”, he claimed, before he took away the knife, and slapped her. After this, she also had a piece of board, which he said he took away from her, got aggressive, and hit her with it multiple times.

He went upstairs to smoke, and didn’t know where she went.

Bynoe claimed that the burning was something to keep away “bad vibes”, and involved garlic, onion, sponge and clothes used for going to the “bush”. He said he didn’t burn anything belonging to her.

Police officers were also witnesses in the case. They gave evidence of visible swelling when Charles reported the matter, and remnants of burnt items belonging to a woman in the yard. There was also an injury report form that Charles was given to take to the doctor. On it was a paragraph describing the damage to her body.

The culmination of all the evidence meant that Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett felt he could properly convict Bynoe of the offences.

Turning towards sentencing, the magistrate commented “…The cycle continues. I’ve been making these comments almost every day in court.
This defendant, his criminal career commenced when he was a juvenile and that continues…”

For his first offence in 2000, he was given three strokes, and in 2003, six strokes. From then, wounding, theft, possession of controlled drugs and offensive weapons colour his record. Notably, in 2010, he burned a cap belonging to an individual.

The defendant continued to insist that he was telling the truth.

“When a man beat a woman like this, somebody who you were in a relationship with, I starting from jail,” Burnett told him.

The extent of the injuries listed on the form were also noted.

The prosecution commented that domestic violence is a real issue in this country and time and time again these matters are coming before the court, “and at times virtual complainants end up losing their lives.”

Referencing the reaction of the public to domestic violence, the magistrate noted “There are persons in society, when these matters come before the court, they want the court to throw the whole book at you…”

“That’s not how a court functions, the court has to properly assess the matter and give a sentence based on all the issues that are before the court. The court does not sentence based on emotions or to satisfy a particular interest,” he stated.

Although the decision was arrived at on Wednesday, the court adjourned sentencing to yesterday.

After sentencing, a seemingly annoyed Bynoe was told he has a right to appeal if he desires.