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Man accuses wife of trying to fool court during cross-examination

Cathy Lee Clayson, photographed in 2011, is seeking a divorce from her husband, Paul Martin, an order to end his supervised access to their two young children and a finding in civil court that he tried to kill her in Jamaica in 2010.

Peter Power/Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

‎Paul Martin, a teacher who allegedly slashed his wife's throat on a trip to Jamaica four years ago, stood across from her in an Oshawa courtroom on Wednesday and accused her of trying to fool the court into thinking he was a "violent and abusive husband and father."

Mr. Martin, 46, of Whitby, Ont., raised his usually calm voice several times during his second day of cross-examining his wife, Cathy Clayson, 38. Mr. Martin is representing himself in the tense and emotional civil trial.

The couple made headlines after Ms. Clayson accused Mr. Martin of slashing a 10-centimetre cut in her throat with a gutting knife, trying to strangle her and leaving her by the side o‎f a road while the pair was on vacation in Jamaica in December, 2010.

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The following November, a Jamaican jury found Mr. Martin not guilty at a proceeding where he was allowed to offer a statement on which he could not be cross-examined. He at first claimed he and his wife were attacked by a car-jacker, but later claimed Ms. Clayson attacked him.

Ms. Clayson, who has told court she is terrified of her husband, is seeking a divorce, an order to end his supervised access to their two young children, and a finding in civil court that he tried to kill her in Jamaica. Unlike a criminal case, where guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, a civil court case must be proved only on a balance of probabilities.

Ms. Clayson sometimes broke into tears during her testimony. Mr. Martin accused her of lying when she said ‎he was a violent husband, telling court that she told the Jamaican trial he was a good father.

"Ms. Clayson, you are trying to fool this honourable court into thinking I was a violent and abusive husband and father," Mr. Martin said.

His wife told court she had been trying to protect her children by leaving out details from her testimony in Jamaica. She also told court that, since the trial, her understanding of the definition of violence had changed, to include "holding my hands and arms and cornering me," which she has testified her husband did during arguments in their house.

‎Ms. Clayson has testified that their marriage had deteriorated before the trip. In his cross-examination, Mr. Martin accused her of being the problem, saying it was she who raised her voice in arguments.

"What I am putting to you, Ms. Clayson, when we had arguments ... it was you who was verbally abusive for years and years," Mr. Martin said.

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He told her she tricked him into believing their mortgage insurance covered her and not just him, something she denied.

And he asked his wife a litany of questions about how he coached his daughter's soccer team, how he was upset that she let their toddler run onto the field during games, and how he cooked and cleaned at home‎. He accused her of lying about an incident in which an engagement photo was smashed. She testified it happened as she flailed about when he angrily cornered her in their bedroom. He told court she punched the photo.

He questioned what he said was a discrepancy in her testimony about how fast their rented SUV was going when Ms. Clayson, bleeding profusely from her neck, jumped out. He told court there was no Jamaican medical record of her other injuries sustained in jumping from a fast-moving car, although she says she hurt her elbow and wrists.

But he still did not directly address whether his wife's harrowing account of an attack took place. ‎He is to continue his questioning on Thursday.

‎Court also heard, via Skype, from June Warren, a Jamaican nurse who told court that in the early afternoon of Dec. 23, 2010, she saw a Suzuki SUV speed past her, a person's feet popping out of an open door. The car slowed down a bit, she said, and a human shape left it. Under cross-examination, she insisted the car did not stop, but acknowledged she was too far away to be able to identify the person.

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About the Author
Toronto City Hall Reporter

Jeff Gray is The Globe and Mail’s Toronto City Hall reporter. He has worked at The Globe since 1998. From 2010 to 2016, he was the law reporter in Report on Business, covering Bay Street law firms and white-collar crime. He won an honourable mention at the National Magazine Awards for investigative journalism in 2010. More

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