British Virgin Islands


Domestic Case Law

The Queen v. Vernon Anthony Paddy The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in the High Court of Justice (Criminal Division) (2011)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, International law

Mrs. Paddy was a victim of ongoing domestic abuse by her husband of nine years; she hoped to move on and began communicating with other men, giving one of them her phone number.  Upon discovering that Mrs. Paddy wanted to get out of their marriage, Mr. Paddy attacked his wife, repeatedly beating her with a hammer.  Mr. Paddy was charged and convicted for causing grievous bodily harm with intent.  Mr. Paddy claimed to have been provoked by the conduct of the victim, but the Supreme Court found that the facts did not suggest such provocation, especially because the husband was aware that his wife suffered from multiple sclerosis and diabetes, and ruled it a premeditated attack.  In sentencing Mr. Paddy to eight years of imprisonment and financial responsibility for his wife’s medical expenses, the Supreme Court recognized that, under CEDAW, States are required to eliminate the many different forms of gender-based discrimination women confront by ensuring that all necessary arrangements are put in place that will allow women to actually experience equality in their lives.  The Supreme Court further observed that “it is now the duty of the courts to send out a strong message that domestic violence in any form will not be tolerated and that men do not have an unfettered license to batter women,” and that “[t]he only way the courts can effectively show this is by the sentences that are passed which are aimed at ensuring that the wrongdoer does not repeat the offence and that potential offenders get the message that society will not condone such behavior.”