Ajax teacher mistreated in Jamaican jail, lawyer says

Canadian Paul Martin is escorted by officers from the Falmouth Courthouse in Falmouth, Trelawny on December 28, 2010.

The lawyer for an Ajax teacher accused of slashing his wife’s throat and leaving her for dead during their Jamaican vacation said his client is being mistreated by other inmates as he awaits trial.

A magistrate will be inspecting the local police station’s holding cells on Tuesday after Paul Martin’s lawyer Ernest Smith complained about the conditions, Smith said.

“I have concerns about how the other prisoners are treating him,” said Smith, declining to elaborate on his concerns about the jail where Martin has been held since the Dec. 23 incident.

Martin was denied bail at a preliminary hearing Friday, at which reports say he sat passively as witnesses described finding his wife on an isolated coastal road, blood gushing from her throat.

In mid-December, the 43-year-old elementary school teacher vacationed at a Montego Bay resort with his wife, Cathy-Lee Martin.

Martin believed his wife was having an affair and used the trip to stabilize their six-year marriage, his lawyer said.

But instead of driving to the airport after they checked out the hotel, Martin drove their rental car in the opposite direction, the wife testified in December.

He said he wanted to take photographs of a cliff. However, after turning onto a secluded road, he allegedly slit her throat twice with a knife and choked her, she told the court, a thick bandage still wrapped around her neck.

When she asked why he attacked her, Martin allegedly accused her of having an affair — a claim she denies. She said he jumped out of the car and was rescued by a passing motorist.

Martin told police a carjacker had stabbed his wife.

On Friday, a taxi driver who found Cathy-Lee Martin testified that he had spotted a grey SUV driving erratically with two feet swinging from the passenger seat, reports say.

As the cabbie drove the woman to the hospital, she handed over two passports and a cellphone, the court heard.

Smith said the phone will be an important part of his defence but refused to say why.

“The judge is saying that the evidence (to keep Martin detained) is strong. But then evidence can appear to be strong until you hear the other side and before detailed cross-examination,” said Smith, adding that the judge could grant bail when the preliminary trial resumes on Jan. 28.

Jesuits in Kingston have agreed to house Martin if he gets bail until the trial is completed, he said, adding that the regional director of the Jesuits is a family friend of the Martins.

Cathy-Lee Martin, a 34-year-old bank manager, returned to Canada in late December. Family members said she is “doing well” and is with her two children, ages 2 and 5.

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