HUNTSVILLE - It was perhaps one of the more bizarre appearances in Huntsville criminal court in recent years.
A disheveled Kayla Matthews stood in the prisoners’ box before Judge JD Evans on Feb. 6, accused of assault and failing to attend court.
Earlier in the day, the 29-year-old Cambridge area woman could be heard screaming inaudibly and very loudly from the cells located in the back part of the courthouse, prior to the start of proceedings.
Hours later, appearing slightly incoherent and in restraints, the petite woman answered Judge JD Evans meekly as the justice asked if she wished to proceed that day.
“Are you feeling well?” the judge asked.
“Are you feeling well enough to proceed today?”
“Yeah,” came the half-heartedly reply.
Once the case proceeded, Crown attorney Ted Carlton said that the assault case happened on May 15, 2011, near a Bracebridge coffee shop. The female victim had been living above the shop, and around 10 a.m. the employees noticed a woman, later identified as Matthews, and a male accomplice, exchange words with the female. At one point, the employees witnessed Matthews attack the female, pushing her to the ground and striking her in the face.
The woman fled to the coffee shop where the staff attended to her injuries and police were called. The woman was bleeding from two cuts to her face.
Matthews was eventually charged with the assault and made her first court appearance in September 2011. She was represented by counsel at that appearance, but during the second court appearance that December, the lawyer removed himself from the case and stated he had not had any contact with Matthews since the September court date. The accused woman also did not appear for her December appearance and a bench warrant was issued for her arrest.
She was arrested on Feb. 4 and taken to Huntsville court for Wednesday’s appearance.
Defence lawyer Mark Reid told the court that Matthews, who had no prior criminal record, had three children who had lived with her mother in May 2011. She was addicted to oxycodone and was trying to “get clean” in order to get her children back.
Matthews, according to Reid, had assaulted the female over the belief the victim had stolen oxycodone from her. As for missing the court date, Reid said the accused woman had found out late in 2011 that her children were being put up for adoption by the Children’s Aid Society and that she “felt betrayed by CAS and her mother,” but knows deep down she was at fault.
Matthews left Muskoka and didn’t make her court appearance because she “felt overwhelmed,” after losing her children.
Matthews was in custody for three days at the time of Wednesday’s court appearance.
Prior to sentencing, Judge Evans asked Matthews that if she were to be released that day, where would she go.
“Home,” she said, slightly weaving as she stood in the prisoners’ box.
“Where’s that,” asked the judge.
“How?” asked the judge.
In the end, Judge Evans sentenced Matthews to time served for missing court and 12 month’s probation for the assault charge.