Ajax teacher gets bail in Jamaica slashing case

A 43-year-old Ajax teacher accused of slashing his wife’s throat and leaving her for dead during their Caribbean vacation has been granted bail in Jamaica.

Paul Martin, who taught grades 5 and 6 at St. Francis de Sales school in Ajax, is charged with attempted murder.

He is expected to be released next week on a surety of about $5,500 after being held in a Jamaican jail for nearly four months.

Jacqueline Samuels-Brown, Martin’s lawyer, said her client will argue self-defence.

At the Tuesday bail hearing, Martin’s lawyers submitted several sworn statements from Ajax community members vouching for Martin’s character.

The statements “spoke to Mr. Martin’s track record as a man devoted and committed to his family, in particular the children of the family,” Samuels-Brown said.

The conditions in jail have been “extremely taxing” and Martin has been treated in hospital for infections contracted while in custody, his lawyer said. He has not seen his two small children since December.

“He’s very distressed,” Samuels-Brown said.

“One of the things he kept saying is, ‘I love my children so much I would do nothing that would prevent me from being able to see them.’ And he (has) repeated this over and over.”

Cathy-Lee Martin was attacked in mid-December during a vacation at a Montego Bay resort with her husband, who is the brother of former Liberal MP Keith Martin.

Appearing in a Jamaican court in late December with her neck heavily bandaged, she testified that her husband drove them to a secluded road after they checked out of their hotel, then slit her throat twice with a knife and choked her before leaving her for dead.

She testified that during the attack her husband accused her of having an affair — a claim she has denied. She said she jumped out of the car and was rescued by a passing motorist.

The 34-year-old bank manager returned to Canada in late December.

A woman who answered the phone at the Martin home in Ajax on Wednesday said she had no comment.

At the bail hearing, Martin’s lawyers asked for and were granted a change of venue after they argued that prejudicial statements being made against their client in the area compromised his right to a fair trial. The trial has been moved from the Jamaican parish of Trelawny to Hanover.

As part of his bail conditions, Martin must surrender his travel documents, report to police every other day and not be seen within 180 metres of his wife.

He is to reside in the suburban region of St. James and is scheduled to appear in court again on June 15.

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