Harrington man accused of pushing woman off deck acquitted of domestic assault

Posted Jan. 15, 2014, at 12:01 p.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — A 30-year-old Harrington man was acquitted of a charge of domestic violence assault in a case in which he was accused of pushing a woman down several steps of a deck at their home.

A Washington County Superior Court jury of eight men and four women deliberated about 40 minutes Tuesday and returned a verdict of not guilty in favor of Justin Skeate.

The woman testified during the one-day trial that Skeate shoved her down the steps leading from a deck at a home the couple shared on Marshfield Road in Harrington in an incident that occurred Aug. 1. She suffered no serious injuries. Both she and Skeate testified they had been living together for several months.

Skeate described their relationship as “rocky” leading up to the night of the incident. They had been drinking with friends and arguing as a couple, he testified, and Skeate began carrying boxes of the woman’s belongings from the house and dropping them outside.

While he was on the deck outside, the woman came up behind him and began hitting him on the back of the head with her fists, he testified. He turned to face her, was struck some more, and then grabbed her arms to make her stop. He shoved her, and she stumbled backward and fell down three steps to the ground, according to Skeate’s testimony.

Under cross-examination by Assistant District Attorney Ethan Plaut, Skeate acknowledged that he was angry with the woman but said he was “in control.” The woman fell down the steps because she had been drinking, said Skeate.

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