Toronto Star

Mar. 9, 2001 03:04 EDT

Woman who shot husband `suffered'

Soo Kim
DURHAM REGION BUREAU
The Toronto Star

In a bizarre spousal support case, lawyers for both a wife who tried to kill her husband and the husband say their clients are victims of tragedy.

``Who suffered here and why?'' Peter Tetley, lawyer for David Alexander, asked in Oshawa court yesterday. ``And is that not a factor that Your Honour should consider?''

In November, 1995, Christine Alexander shot her estranged husband David in the face.

Two years later, she was convicted of attempted murder and served two years in prison.

Now she says she is entitled to support payments from her former husband because she is penniless and receiving social assistance. She is seeking spousal support.

Tetley said David Alexander's injuries prevented him from returning to his former job as a mechanic earning $45,000 a year.

He is now a security guard with a salary of $22,000. David, who still has a bullet lodged in his spine, also had to have plastic surgery to reconstruct his face.

But Charles Morison, Christine Alexander's lawyer, told the court his client had endured much, too. She has nothing to show for 22 years of marriage, he said. She helped her former husband acquire two properties but lost them both to him in a previous court order. And she spent time in jail.

``It's not a situation where one side has suffered and the other side has not,'' Morison said, as his client dabbed her eyes with a Kleenex.

Under Canada's Divorce Act, a court cannot consider the misconduct of a spouse when ruling on entitlement to support.

The court may consider the finances of the parties.

``This is somewhat of a tragic case,'' Morison told the Superior Court of Justice.

Morison argued before Justice Joseph James that the wording of Sec. 15 of the Divorce Act makes the shooting irrelevant.

Tetley agreed that the clear language drafted by Parliament presented him with a huge hurdle. But he asked the court to go beyond the strict wording of the act and use its discretion to do what was fair.

James will deliver his decision on May 3.

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