Don’t you just love a man in a loin cloth, bared chest and latissimus dorsi muscles so big that if loin cloths had pockets he wouldn’t be able to place his hands there? I know I do. I like it when a man with absolute zero judgment comes after another man, caveman style, with a knife, and attacks him because his estranged wife was kissing the other man. Just the very thought gets me all Jane and Tarzan.  

Justice Carlisle Greaves, although not entirely condoning defendant Irving Butterfield’s attack on Damian Forbes for kissing his estranged wife, stated that, “He had a right to peep. What was he supposed to do when he saw them? Wait until the gentleman entered into the valley of love? What was he supposed to do? Walk away with his head down like a mouse?” [BDA Sun, Oct 25].

I think “yes” would be the correct answer. Having your feelings hurt is no excuse for domestic violence. 

This is the same Supreme Court Justice who was threatened online by a woman, who suggested on a Royal Gazette blog that he should be assaulted. She ended up in court, the criminal justice system clearly having decided the threat was serious and credible. This was a threat by words — but Mr Forbes was actually stabbed. Is there a double standard at play here? 

Justice Greaves’s chauvinistic comments were compounded by the slap on the wrist suspended sentence he dished out to the defendant Butterfield.

I’m sure that estranged wife, Chrissie Kempe, has seen the error of her ways and, like all good Stepford wives, has tied her apron back on and is probably preparing a candlelight dinner for her estranged husband.

Justice Greaves, after all, claimed, “she wasn’t rubbing salt in his wound, she soaked him in a brine, in this man’s house where he still had privileges, where he kept his children. That’s salt in the wound twice.” Why goodness me — that’s the least that she could do for her poor, delicate, sodium saturated, caveman husband. 

No excuse for violence  

Justice Greaves has made an egregious error by not recognizing that however painful it might be to see an estranged spouse engaged in a new relationship, there’s no excuse for domestic violence. Frankly, if Justice Greaves felt compelled to make any comments at all on this case, he might have suggested to Ms Kempe’s counsel that she file a restraining order against Mr Butterfield.

It’s interesting to note how wrong Justice Greaves really got it. He assumed incorrectly that the defendant had attacked Mr Forbes in the home he shared with his estranged wife. Wrong.  Chrissie Kempe has clarified that she has lived separately for a year in her own home and had given access to Mr Butterfield to her home so that he could see their children. Most attorneys and judges who handle family law cases would be hailing Ms Kempe’s approach as mature and generous. Instead, she rightly claims that she has been victimized a second time by Justice Greaves’s inappropriate and offensive comments.   

Justice Greaves has now accomplished, however unintentionally, two things. Firstly, there will be plenty of men who will think that as long as it’s their wife or girlfriend, their house where “they have privileges” (Care to clarify that Justice?), it will be perfectly acceptable to hurt women or their loved ones in retaliation. Secondly, and just as worrying, is that many women in this community will be reluctant to go to the police if they are victims of abuse.  

Cave man approach

Separation and divorce usually don’t bring out the best in people.  We’re all human and emotions and tempers can run very high but we can’t have Supreme Court justices siding with a man over some antiquated, caveman, ‘you’re my woman’ approach to justice. 

Justice Carlisle Greaves failed miserably in his duty and should recuse himself from any further domestic violence cases. Tarzan, it seems, might be better suited to the role.