Man given conditional discharge for headbutting wife during argument over money

A 61-year-old manwas granted a two-year conditional discharge after headbutting his wife during an argument over money for groceries

A 61-year-old man from San Ġwann was granted a two-year conditional discharge upon conviction for slightly injuring his wife, when he headbutted her during a heated argument over the wife’s request for money to buy groceries.

Magistrate Nadine Lia had heard police inspector Sherona Buhagiar explain how the victim had reported being headbutted by her husband with such force that she had ended up on her back.

The defendant had testified in January, telling the court that he had since moved out of the matrimonial home. He said the cause of the tension in the household had been his daughter’s choice of boyfriend, who the defendant did not approve of and had refused to allow inside the house.

He denied assaulting the woman, saying he had turned his head and hit her in the chest by accident, because she had given him a fright while he had been injecting his insulin.

His wife denied that the defendant had been on the sofa,injecting himself with insulin when the incident took place, telling the court that he administers his insulin in his room and not on the sofa in the living room.

She told the court that her husband had shouted at her after she had asked him for money to buy washing powder. While she was distracted, she said, he had headbutted her in the teeth, causing her to fall back on the couch with the needle of his syringe stuck in her thigh, screaming that he was beating her up.

The woman claimed that although hospital scans showed that she had no fractures, she still suffered from great back pain.

She added that this had not been the first violent incident involving her husband, who she described as a gambling addict.

Inspector Sherona Buhagiar testified to being told by the woman that after she managed to get up, she had locked herself in the bedroom while trying to call for assistance. The defendant had started crying and tried to open the door, but then left the house. The woman later went, together with the couple’s daughter, to the Floriana health centre, where her injuries were eventually classified as slight.

The court had also heard the daughter testify to having been called up at work by her mother who was crying. The daughter and her brother often had to help their mother financially because their father only gave her €50 a month. The prosecution said that they had been court over previous domestic violence reports but the woman had forgiven the defendant.

Deciding the case, Magistrate Nadine Lia observed that certain parts of the narrative given by both sides did not correspond with each other.

The court noted that the daughter had confirmed that her father did not like her boyfriend, and that she didn't talk to her father much “because of his attitude”.

The daughter’s testimony confirmed that contrary to what her father claimed, her mother had not fallen and injured herself in the days leading up to the incident.

Magistrate Lia said the court had no reason to doubt the daughter’s testimony, which she said, tallied with the account given by her mother. Having also heard the defendant's testimony, the court described his version of events as “doubtful”.

After evaluating all the evidence, including the doctors' certificates and the witnesses, the magistrate said the first charge had been proved to her satisfaction.

However it was not shown that the defendant had insulted, threatened or insulted his wife in any way.

The man was found guilty of injuring his wife, but cleared of uttering insults and threats towards her. He was conditionally discharged for two years and was bound by the court to keep the peace for the next year or pay an additional €1,000 penalty

A restraining order was also issued against the defendant.