Former government minister Michael Thomas Adam told a court Tuesday afternoon during his common assault trial that he felt insulted when the complainant called him “senile” and felt threatened by the man’s aggressive behavior.
Mr. Adam faces one charge of common assault following an incident that occurred on June 27 last year.
He said he did raise his fist during an encounter with the complainant, but it was in self-defense.
Mr. Adam has pleaded not guilty to assaulting the man, who owns property next to his in West Bay. The complainant, who gave his evidence Tuesday morning, said Mr. Adam “placed his right fist against my cheek with slight pressure,” while saying things that, together with this act, caused him to feel threatened.
Mr. Adam, whose government ministry included community affairs and housing from 2009-2013, is now 68. The complainant is 42.
Mr. Adam told the court that he attended a meeting at the property line on the morning of the incident to deal with the placement of property markers. The complainant was present, along with his surveyor and the surveyor’s two associates.
As they waited for the government chief surveyor to arrive, Mr. Adam said he drew attention to a shipping container on the complainant’s property. He said he did not object to the container, but it had recently been modified with a corrugated zinc roof and he was concerned that the zinc was not secured properly in the event of strong winds.
Mr. Adam said the complainant began yelling and making insulting and derogatory remarks, becoming more agitated. He felt threatened for his safety and that of his wife. When the other man advanced toward him on his own property, he instinctively put up his right hand to defend himself.
“I at no time made contact with [his] face,” Mr. Adam said, adding that the incident occurred within five to ten seconds.
His evidence was that he had a business meeting and left, saying his wife would be present at the yard and he would agree with the government surveyor’s decision.
Questioned by Crown counsel Kenneth Ferguson, he agreed that when he was asked, “Are you senile?” he felt insulted. He also agreed he had used certain inappropriate words.
Mr. Ferguson suggested that he did not say those words because the complainant was approaching him, but because of the insult.
Mr. Adam replied, “He was approaching me very aggressively and he insulted me … I felt threatened …. I might have taken one or two steps, but he came towards me. I will not agree that I rushed [towards him].”
Before his evidence, the Crown’s case had closed with the playing of an audio recording made by a police officer from a recording the complainant made at the time of the incident.
Defense attorney Waide DaCosta advised Magistrate Grace Donalds that he had witnesses to call and the matter was adjourned until Thursday, April 26.