A 62-year-old man has been found guilty of common assault, after having originally appeared in court to face the more serious charge of grave and criminal assault.
Jersey’s Magistrate’s Court heard how an altercation between Graham John Aley and a woman got out of hand at an address in St Brelade on 13th July this year.
For the prosecution, the court heard from Legal Adviser Carla Carvalho, how Mr Aley apparently attacked the victim, holding her in a headlock so hard she couldn’t scream, after allegedly telling her "I’m going to kill you’."
Advocate James Bell for the Defence in cross-examination suggested it was a false complaint, something the victim vehemently denied. Advocate Bell pointed out that she had also phoned the police three days earlier, after the defendant reportedly took and hid her phone.
The victim gave evidence behind a screen, so as to be separated from the defendant, yet the Defence told the court the pair had in fact voluntarily agreed to meet for lunch in August, a few weeks after the incident, and ten days prior to Mr Aley being charged with the offence.
Mr Aley told the Court in evidence that he was not a violent man and that he had never been violent to anyone "male or female."
The Court also received character references from three of his children, and a longstanding family friend.
Carla Carvalho, in summing up for the Prosecution, stated that, "...this was a continuing assault over a short period of time on 13th July this year."
Whilst she accepted there were no visual injuries to the victim’s neck, she pointed out that the Police doctor had said that, "...it wasn’t impossible for a person to experience pain and soreness without bruising after a headlock."
Advocate Bell, defending Mr Aley, in his address to the court said “I suggest that this case comes down to whether you are sure that the alleged victim’s version is true or correct. But if you consider that Mr Aley’s version might be true, you should acquit, because that means there’s some reasonable doubt in your mind."
He went on to suggest that the alleged victim’s evidence had been inconsistent and, "...as a result I suggest it is not possible for you to be sure of her account."
"She said she was gripped tightly so she could not speak. I suggest that’s not credible given there was no injury visible to the police or the FME (Forensic Medical Examiner). There is no obvious bruising, abrasion or swelling noted during the examination of the area of the neck or the face. There is no haemorrhaging noted to the whites of the eyes. If someone really was choked or grabbed around the neck, when they were so restricted they could not make a sound, they’d be likely to have blood shot eyes."
Magistrate Peter Harris, in delivering his verdict, said: "I’m satisfied that the prosecution have proven to the criminal standards that an assault took place… but in terms of the degree of the assault I’m not satisfied it was grave and criminal. So far as that charge is concerned I find you not guilty, however I am satisfied that a common assault took place and find you guilty of common assault."
Mr Harris ordered a background report prior to sentencing, which will take place on 10th December.
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