Registrar and Judge Stephenson
Registrar and Judge Stephenson

A 30-year old mother of three is to return to the Roseau High Court before Justice Birnie Stephenson to know her fate for unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on another female.

On Monday last week at the end of the two-day trial, the jury needed just over an hour to find Shermel Christopher of Marigot guilty of that second charge but not guilty of the more serious offence of unlawfully and maliciously wounding Kafie Ferreira with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Levi Peter called four witnesses to put forward the case of the State.

According to the evidence presented to the jury, Ferreira had gone to Marigot at the home of Christopher on the invitation of her boyfriend, Lawrence Alwin Robin, on the evening of Tuesday December 8, 2009. Robin picked her up at her home in Goodwill about 4:30pm. After several stops along the way they arrived in Marigot about 8:00pm.

According to Ferreira, the following morning about 7:30, she was awakened by knocking on the door of the bedroom in which she was sleeping. The knocking was by Christopher's daughter and Robin got up and went out with his daughter. Ferreira heard the door opened again. She was lying there on the bed with her eyes closed. She heard footsteps and felt a liquid substance, thrown in her face, and heard the voice of Shermel Christopher saying something nasty.

"I closed my eyes tighter, and opened my eyes. I saw Ms Christopher leaving the room. After that I took a faint scent of alkali, which I know. I attempted to leave the room to get the substance from my eye. I began to feel intense pain. I fell to the ground because the scent was so strong. I couldn't keep my eyes opened or breathe properly. I fell to the ground and actually passed out," she said. She heard the door opened a few minutes later and Robin attempted to get her out of the room. He assisted her to the bathroom where she tried to wash out what was in her eyes. She described the pain as very intense, and the liquid was to her face, inside her mouth and genitals as well. She went under the shower, but still there was no relief from the pain.

Robin helped her into her clothes and drove her to the Marigot Hospital. Her eyes were flushed with a saline solution for 1½ hours and she was referred to the Princess Margaret Hospital.

Dr Hazel Shillingford-Ricketts examined Ferreira several times at the PMH where she was a patient for about three weeks. Dr. Irvine Pascal-the ear, nose and throat specialist- also examined her because some of the substance had gotten into her mouth.

Dr Ricketts had to prescribe artificial tears and glasses because the patient had lost acuity in her left eye. Up to the time of giving her evidence on Friday October 11, Ferreira complained that she still had blurred vision in her left eye. Dr Ricketts also referred her to the Dr Bascombe Palmer Eye Institute in Miami in January 2010.

Cross examined by lawyer David Bruney on behalf of Christopher, Ferreira said she had been in a relationship with Alwin Robin from 2005. She was aware that he lived with the accused and their children, but not on a daily basis.

Shermel Christopher told the court that she had gone to Antigua to look for parts for her car. When she returned home and opened her bedroom door, she saw Kafie Ferreira lying on her bed with a panty and a vest.

"I asked her what she doing there (defendant started crying), and got a nasty response", she said.

Ferreira reached to the window above the bed and took a container and all she could do was bat the container from Kafie Ferreira and it splashed all over the place, and "I left the room with my daughter'.

Christopher said she was provoked by the complainant who would text her and tell her nasty things. She even took her phone to the police station to show the sort of texts she got from the complainant. She said officer Jason Williams after looking at her phone called Ferreira and spoke with her.