C v E

CourtSupreme Court (Bahamas)
JudgeBain, J.
Judgment Date17 July 2012
Date17 July 2012
Docket NumberFAM/div 504 of 2010

Supreme Court

Bain, J.

FAM/div 504 of 2010


Mrs. Marylee Braynen-Symonette for the petitioner

Mrs. Glenys Hanna-Martin for the petitioner

Family Law - Dissolution of marriage — Cruelty.

Bain, J.

(1) The petitioner and the respondent were married on 3 March 2001. There is one child of the marriage namely TEB born 23 October 1990.


(2) The petitioner filed a Petition on 22 September 2010 on the ground that since the celebration of the marriage the respondent has treated the petitioner with cruelty.


(3) An Answer and Cross Petition was filed on 29 November 2010 whereby the respondent prayed for the dissolution of the marriage on the ground that the petitioner had treated the respondent with cruelty.


(4) The petitioner and the respondent gave evidence on their own behalf and called no witnesses.


(5) In her evidence the petitioner stated that the respondent was cold and insensitive. That there was no collaboration with respect to finances. The respondent was employed and his income was lower than the petitioner. The respondent made no financial contribution toward the matrimonial home.


(6) According to the petitioner:–

“Even though his income was lower than mine there was no collaboration. He would do what he would and even if he made a dollar or two he wouldn't bring anything home to eat. When I say, make a suggestion to go to the food store he just took it for granted that I would just be paying all the bills.”

  • Q. Did you ever ask him to assist?

  • A. Yes, I never really expect a lot because my salary was a bit more.”


(7) And when further questioned by counsel if she asked the respondent to assist financially the petitioner stated:–

“Many times was that he didn't have it or if he was getting paid on this date and that date and when the time came “did you get pay, do you have anything towards that. He had to do this and he had to do that. So it wasn't it didn't seem as if you know he wanted to at least try even if he have $5.00 towards something, that was not.”


(8) The petitioner and the respondent lived together for many years before they married. According to the petitioner when the respondent met her she was searching foe a piece of property in Andros for her project. This “project” became a nine room hotel lodge in Mango Field, Andros. The respondent got involved in the project before the marriage as he wanted to play a greater part in the project. The property was in the name of a company and the respondent was president and the petitioner was secretary.


(9) The respondent was responsible for overseeing the construction and moved to Andros. The petitioner complained that the respondent was confrontational with the workers. As a result of the respondent's attitude there were lots of arguments with the staff which resulted in losses caused by workmen putting cement in the pipes. And on one occasion a worker threatened the respondent to beat him up and kill him. As a result the parties suffered loss at the site and had to find additional funds to complete the work. When the petitioner spoke to the respondent about his attitude and the financial loss the respondent became cold towards her and would not speak to the petitioner for days at a time.


(10) In order to finance the project the petitioner and the respondent obtained a loan from the Bank of The Bahamas. The loan was in the name of the company and both parties where liable to repay the loan. The payments were deducted from the petitioner's salary as she had a good paying job at a financial institution. The petitioner acknowledged that the respondent's income was not sufficient to support the loan. The petitioner admitted also that she supported the respondent in his own business Mangrove Botanical. In order to get a large contract the respondent needed funds and the petitioner pledged her Fixed Deposit at Commonwealth Bank to raise the necessary funds for the respondent. The respondent repaid the loan.


(11) The project caused a lot of problems in the marriage. According to the petitioner the respondent was strong willed and sensitive and if he was criticized he became extremely defensive and cold and would stop speaking to the petitioner.


(12) The respondent moved out of the matrimonial bed and started sleeping on the floor for months. The respondent told the petitioner that he did not love her anymore. The petitioner suggested counseling and during the counseling session the respondent told the petitioner that counseling would not make a difference and that the marriage was over. The respondent was traveling a lot and started staying out until late at night and he only came home to bathe and change his clothes and go out again. The petitioner found condoms in his bag. When asked about the condoms the respondent told the petitioner that he never knew when he would need to use the condoms.


(13) There was an incident in July 2010 when the petitioner tried talking to the respondent in the bathroom when according to the petitioner the respondent threw the petitioner across the room. As a result of the argument the petitioner took the keys for the house of the respondent's key chain. The petitioner stated that she immediately had regrets about this action and tried to call the respondent to tell him about the key and when she was unable to reach him by phone she texted him and told him that she was leaving the key in the washroom. The respondent did not return to the matrimonial home that night and only returned to pack up his belongings. The respondent took everything that belonged to him, even the plants in the matrimonial home.


(14) The petitioner stated that the respondent's behaviour towards her left her emotionally distraught. She was unable to sleep and drank a lot at night to be able to sleep. She was also affected on her job as she dealt with a lot of money and had to remain calm.


(15) The petitioner felt that she was used by the respondent and stated:–

“When I look back and reflect over the years I think he saw a high income earner, ambitious woman, who loved the Lord and want to do this and he tagged along to benefit.”


(16) The petitioner admitted that in October 2009 she threatened to kill the respondent. However she maintained that the threat was made in the heat of an argument.


(17) The petitioner made arrangements for counseling sessions with Reverend Butler. The petitioner and respondent attended four sessions but the petitioner was of the opinion that the counseling sessions did not go well. After the second session the respondent continued to sleep on the floor so the petitioner gave up. During the session the respondent told the petitioner that the counseling did not make sense as the marriage was over.


(18) The petitioner alleged that she was affected by the respondents coldness towards her, his lack of communication with respect to the Andros project, his management of the Andros project which resulted in additional financial expenses, the respondent's lack of financial contribution towards the matrimonial home and his long periods of silence when the respondent would stop speaking to the petitioner.


(19) In the petitioner's own words:–

“I couldn't take it emotionally. I was distraught. I have the type of job I have to be calm. I deal with a lot of money. I will be stressed out not sleeping, probably have too much drink at night just to go to sleep it was horrible.”


(20) Notwithstanding the petitioner's claim about the respondent's lack of financial support this position was accepted by the petitioner. In examination the petitioner was asked if she ever asked him to assist. Her response:–

“Yes, I never really expected a lot because my salary was a bit more.”


(21) The petitioner admitted that she was known as the lady with the money on the project site.


(22) The respondent has alleged that the petitioner has since the celebration of the marriage treated him with cruelty.


(23) According to the respondent the petitioner was argumentative, aggressive and domineering.


(24) The respondent stated that the petitioner did not allow him to be the project manager for the joint project in Andros. The petitioner kept undermining his decisions and when questioned she always stressed that it was her money that was being used. The respondent stated that when there was a dispute on the site or if he fired an employee the person involved would call the petitioner and complain and the petitioner would reverse the decision.


(25) The respondent was a horticulturist and had established his own business of providing plants for functions. When the respondent went to Andros as the project manager the petitioner looked after the respondent's business. As the petitioner's employment kept her very busy the petitioner was only able to assist with the plant business on weekends. Whatever funds were made from the horticulture business the respondent used to maintain himself as he did not receive a salary from the business. The respondent stated that on one occasion he paid himself $600.00 and the petitioner got angry and fussed the respondent for paying himself.


(26) The respondent maintained that the loan manager at Bank of The Bahamas who loaned the money for the project insisted that the respondent go to Andros to manage the project and oversee the construction.


(27) The respondent denied that the incident that occurred in the bathroom in July 2010 happened as indicated by the petitioner. The respondent denied that he lifted up the petitioner and threw her to the floor as alleged. The respondent admitted that there was a confrontation as...

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