(CMR) A Jamaican man was found guilty of common assault yesterday in Summary Court after his roommate's underwear set him off and left him feeling insulted. Anthony St. George Smith (Tex) appeared before Magistrate Phillipa McFarlane for the brief trial in which he represented himself. The victim appeared on her birthday as the sole witness in the matter.
The court heard evidence from the female roommate that she was living alone in a two bedroom apartment when two Jamaican men, unknown to her, were referred via a mutual friend. She decided to take them in as roommates on August 1, 2018. For the first three weeks all appeared to be going well. However, after she spoke to the defendant about what she perceived as a lack of cleanliness in the kitchen she testified that the relationship changed, and they barely spoke.
Then on Friday, October 5, 2018 he accused her of leaving her underwear in the bathroom to “style” him two days prior. The court was presented with video footage that showed how the assaulted started with a verbal confrontation and then escalated from there. He alleged that she was aware that he was going to clean the bathroom on October 3 and felt that she purposely left the undergarment in the bathroom to spite him. For her part, she shared that it was accidental, and she had no idea that he was going to clean the bathroom on that particular day. In fact, she told the court that because she works with a cleaning company she would have to rise early in the morning to leave out to catch the bus in order to make it to the job site in East End.
The court heard the full details of what lead up to the assault which was fully recorded by the defendant. Apparently, the victim became agitated once she discovered after a while that he had been recording her during the entire confrontation. She stated that once he called her “a dirty gyal from Spanish Town” she figured out he was recording her. Fearful of what he may do with the recording, she then attempted to hit the phone out of his hand in an attempt to stop the recording. However, that resulted in him physically assaulting her by “thumping her in her face and upper body” for what she believes was upwards of ten minutes. She sustained a bruised face, swollen eyelid and was off work for almost two weeks. She told the court that she was only compensated for three of those days and incurred loss wages. After the assault she contacted the police but said her roommate rode off on his bike before they arrived.
The court was presented with a series of photos showing her battered face and broken nails from the incident.
Smith asked a few questions on cross-examination and had maintained that he used the phone to hit her and not his fist as she alleged. He was still found guilty by Magistrate McFarlane. She did indicate in her summary that she felt the victim had agitated the situation by getting in his face and even hitting him first. He accepted that he could have walked away and contacted the police. She also believed that the whole purpose of recording her in the first instance was because he wanted something to happen. The video footage did not capture the actual assault itself. The magistrate said she did belief that the victim was hit multiple times. He was ordered to pay $600 in fines and compensation and have common assault recorded on his police record.
CMR spoke with the victim after her testimony, and she shared that it was a very valuable lesson learned from her perspective. She shared that she assumed that because they were all “country men from Jamaica” they could have shared the accommodations which would have been beneficial to all of them. However, after the assault she realized the dangers of living with men she did not know at all. She further explained that she was frustrated at the lengthy process and was just really for the matter to now be over.