Father of four charged over assault on ex-partner and niece

Victim had gone to collect her children from the defendant’s mother’s house before the incident

Court (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Court (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

A 29-year-old man from Bormla has been charged with grievously injuring his ex-partner after she turned up outside his house while his current partner was inside.

The man was arraigned before magistrate Noel Bartolo on Tuesday, accused of inflicting grievous bodily harm on his ex-partner, who is also the mother of some of his children, as well as slightly injuring his 15-year-old niece at the police station and threatening both women.

Inspector Christian Cauchi, prosecuting together with lawyer Alessia Schembri from the Office of the Attorney General, told the court that when the alleged victim had turned up at the police station on Sunday evening, her face had been covered in blood. She had told the police that when she had gone to collect her children from the defendant’s mother’s house, she had noticed the other woman’s car parked outside.

After the victim banged on the front door, the man’s mother had opened it and hit her in the head with her phone. The defendant then came to the door and struck her face with his elbow, inflicting a cut to her lip which began to bleed profusely.

The woman had then gone to the police station, accompanied by the man’s niece, to file a report about the incident. Eventually, however, the defendant also went to the police station, resulting in an altercation on the street outside, during which he allegedly hit his niece’s head against the police station door several times.

The defendant, who told the court he worked as a chef at two restaurants, pleaded not guilty to the charges in court. Defence lawyer Roberto Montalto said that Sunday’s incident had been caused by the victim’s jealousy, positing that she had gone to his mother’s residence when she wasn’t supposed to and upon realising that the other woman was already visiting, wanted to have her say in the matter, “nearly breaking down the front door and attacking his mother.” Bail was also requested.

The prosecution objected to the man being released from arrest, arguing that there was a risk of him contaminating the evidence or suborning the witnesses, who were yet to testify. Inspector Cauchi also confirmed that the police would also be charging the victim with causing slight bodily harm, but not under arrest.

Montalto and lawyer Matthew Xuereb argued that the defendant could provide the court with guarantees that he would not approach witnesses or tamper with the evidence. The man also had a clean criminal record and regular employment, and did not live in the same town as the woman.

The defence explained that besides his two children with the victim, the defendant had two other children to maintain and that there had not been any other incidents in the four years since he and the victim had split up. The former couple had agreed on maintenance and child visitation rights without going to court, added the lawyers.

Having heard both sides’ submissions on the matter, Magistrate Bartolo upheld the request for bail, releasing the defendant from arrest on a number of conditions, including that he sign a bail book three times a week.

Bail was secured by a €1,500 deposit and a €3,500 personal guarantee.

The court also issued a protection order in favour of the alleged victims and their families.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Francesca Zarb are representing the victim as parte civile in these proceedings.