Husband who ruptured wife’s spleen for failing to prepare dinner pleads not guilty to attempted homicide

The mother of four, who required life-saving emergency surgery, claimed her husband had punched her on the ear and kicked her in the stomach

A man punched his wife and kicked her in the stomach, causing her spleen to rupture, has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted homicide.

A 32-year-old man from Mgarr was today arraigned in front of magistrate Monica Vella, charged also with causing grievous bodily harm, permanent debility, and disfigurement in the face, neck or hands of his wife.

The court heard how the hostility had begun on Friday evening, when the mother of four was ill and had been busy tending to the couple’s farm animals, causing her to be late in preparing dinner for her husband, who was leaving for work at around 9pm.

As the couple continued to argue over the weekend, the situation escalated on Sunday evening when the man attacked his wife.

Prosecuting Police inspector Elliot Magro told the court that they had been alerted about the case on Sunday at around 10pm when the victim, together with her brother-in-law, went to the Rabat police station to file a report.

Initial investigations point towards domestic violence, with the woman saying her husband had punched her on the ear and kicked her in the stomach.

The prosecution noted that the victim was in a lot of pain, and after being referred to the Mosta health centre, she was immediately rushed to Mater Dei Hospital where she was found to be critical.

Although her condition improved following emergency surgery, the woman is still being held in intensive care. She had been in danger of dying for about seven hours.

Subsequently, her husband was arrested at his place of work and interrogated.

The defence requested a ban on the publication of the man’s name to safeguard the identity of the couple’s four children, whose ages vary between six months and eight years. The court acceded to the ban.

The defence also requested bail, arguing that he would abide by all bail conditions laid down by the court, but the prosecution objected, pointing out that the crimes he was being charged with were very serious. There are also a number of witnesses who need to testify.

Magistrate Vella denied the request for bail, noting that this was not the man’s first case of domestic violence.

The prosecution also requested a protection order in favour of the woman.

The court acceded to the prosecution’s request for the appointment of a medical expert to compile a report on the injuries suffered by the victim. Forensic doctor Mario Scerri has been tasked with the examination.

Lawyer Kathleen Grima was defence counsel.

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