The 26-year-old man who beat his girlfriend after accusing her of having sex in the office of a permanent secretary has been jailed for three years — two years less than the maximum.
Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett handed down the sentence on the man on Tuesday, after hearing that the beating he inflicted on her on Nov. 30, which resulted in her having to go to the emergency room, was the third in four days.
The man was jailed one day after he asked the court to bring forward his Dec. 20 sentencing because he had secured a job.
He had been in custody since he pleaded guilty, on Dec. 3, to the charge of assault occasioning bodily harm, stemming from the Nov. 30 incident.
iWitness News is withholding the name of the man and his 26-year-old girlfriend, who live in south-western St. Vincent, in the interest of the abused woman and her children, who are now receiving support from the Social Services.
At the sentencing hearing, the woman told the court she and the man have been together for three years and have twins who will be 3 years old next month, and a 1-year-old baby.
The woman said that the abuse started since she was living with the man, his mother, and grandmother, at which time she used to hit him back.
She, however, told the court that she never thought the man would have gotten so aggressive over simple things.
She told the court that the abusive man uses their children against her, saying he wants to be in their life because he grew up without a father.
The man talks their business to everyone, she said, added that she has wanted to leave him for a long time but whenever she attempts to do so, he creates problems for her and, therefore, no one wants to be with her.
She said that the man has accused her of being with their neighbour and beat her on Nov. 26 when he accused her of having had sex with the neighbour, who had provided housing for the man at one time.
After that beating, the man promised the woman that he would not do it again. But he beat her again on Nov. 29, telling her that he believes that she was having sex with the neighbour.
And it was the Nov. 30 beating which was so severe that he had to take her to the hospital that brought everything to a head.
At the hearing on Dec. 3, Prosecutor Sergeant Renwick Cato, who normally deals with Family Court matters, presented a summarised version of the facts, as he filled in for Constable Corlene Samuel at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court.
On Tuesday, during the sentencing hearing, Samuel gave the court a more detailed version of the facts.
Samuel said that about 9 a.m. on Nov. 30, the unemployed man accompanied his girlfriend to the Ministry of Agriculture to look for a job.
At the ministry, the woman spoke with the permanent secretary inside his office as her boyfriend waited outside.
After they left the office, they began to walk to Kingstown Park and the woman stopped along the way to urinate at the roadside.
Her boyfriend searched her underwear and accused her of having sex with the permanent secretary.
He then beat her, resulting in a swollen face.
The man accompanied the woman to the hospital and told her to tell health officials that some woman attacked her.
However, the woman was able to get a message to hospital authorities, telling them it was her boyfriend who had beat her and that they should summon the police.
Samuel also told the court that the man has a criminal record for similar offences, but the Criminal Record Office had not brought that to court because the man had since changed his name.
The prosecutor told the court she was aware of that fact because of her tenure as a prosecutor in that particular court.
The man, however, told the court that in changing his name, he had broken a “generational curse”.
In putting the facts into context, the abused woman told the court that after the meeting with the permanent secretary, he was walking behind her as she exited the office.
At that point, her boyfriend grabbed her by the hand and the public servant appeared to notice what was going on and invited them both into the office.
The woman said that the public servant had known her boyfriend from before and he spoke to him and inquired about how he was getting along and about his children.
He told the man he understands it is tough to have children and no job.
She said that she asked the permanent secretary to help them with the children and the civil servant offered her EC$50, which the man took.
She said her boyfriend told the permanent secretary that they had to leave.
The woman said that before leaving the government building, she told her boyfriend that she needed to use the restroom to urinate.
She, however, said the man hurried her out of the building, telling her that she could relieve herself elsewhere.
She said that they began walking in the direction of Girls High School, so she asked her boyfriend where they were going and he said to check a “partner” (friend).
She said that as they were walking, she noticed that he was taking her to a secluded area, so she again inquired about their destination.
At this point, the man asked her if she didn’t say she wanted to urinate.
She said that as she stooped to urinate, the man examined her underwear and asked her what was ‘that’ on it.
The woman told the court that she asked her boyfriend if he doesn’t know that females have vaginal discharge.
The man, however, did not believe her and searched her breasts, telling her that she had been intimate with permanent secretary.
The man then beat the woman.
After the beating, he told her to take off her top and band her head to hide the injuries.
She, however, told him that she was not going to do so and walk in the street like that.
She said that her boyfriend then began taking her in the direction of Kingstown Park, all along asking her what she was going to say about the cause of her injuries.
He told her to say that some females had attacked her and he had turned up just in time to save her.
The woman told the court that her boyfriend took her in the direction of Victoria Park and then is when she realised that he was taking her to the hospital.
While they were at the hospital, the man asked her if she wanted a drink and she said yes.
When he went to buy the refreshment, the woman told a nurse what had happened and asked her to call the police and play along with the story she gave them about the attack until the police arrive.
The man was arrested at the hospital and charged.
The woman told the court that because of the beating, she did not get a chance to take up the job the permanent secretary had sent her to.
She said that the children are asking about their father but she told them that he was locked up because he beat her.
She said the children know about the situation because the man has beaten her in their presence before.
The magistrate said that the court had looked into the man’s story about getting a job and it seems to be true.
But the woman told the court she does not want him to support her.
“What are you going to do when I send him to jail,” the magistrate asked.
The woman told the court that since the incident she has received help from the government and is also receiving counselling.
She said that the last beating was especially terrifying, noting that the man had taken her into the bushes in a secluded area just to beat her.
At this point, the man told the court that he was sorry that he had disrespected his “baby mother” and was sorry “from my heart”.
“If the relationship has to end, I am asking you in front of the judge to try and trash it out,” the man told the woman from across the dock.
“Alright, that was for you,” the magistrate said to the defendant in relation to the man’s apology.
“The sentence of this court is three years in prison,” he told the defendant, who, as was the case on his previous court appearances, began to cry.
The woman, accompanied by a social worker, was crying as she left the court.