Gozo cruise operator ordered to pay €16,500 for biting rival

As a result of the savage attack, the victim suffered a broken tooth, and spent 11 days in hospital after the bite on his right arm became infected

A pleasure cruise operator, accused of assaulting and biting a business rival in front of customers in 2015, has been ordered to pay €16,455 in damages.

Frank Buttigieg had been working at the Mgarr terminal in Gozo on 3 July 2015, when he was suddenly and violently set upon by Joseph and Paul Buttigieg, who held him down and pummelled him. Paul Buttigieg bit him on his right arm and Joseph Buttigieg repeatedly hit him in the face with a bunch of keys.

“At one point, Mario Buttigieg who is my business partner in offering pleasure cruises to tourists had been talking to a group of tourists,” the victim told the court. “Paul Butigeig, who works in the same sector but with another company walked up to him and shoulder-charged him. I told him ‘you’re not doing the right thing’ and all of a sudden he and Joseph jumped on me and started punching me with all their strength. I tried to block as well as I could but at one point Paul bit me in my right arm and then Joseph started to hit me on the side of my face with the key and knocked out a tooth.”

As a result of the savage attack, Frank Buttigieg suffered a broken tooth, and spent 11 days in hospital after the bite on his right arm became infected.

Separately from criminal proceedings, Frank Buttigieg had filed a civil case to recover the damages he incurred in replacing his missing tooth and the lost earnings.

Magistrate Joanne Vella Cuschieri, presiding the Court of Magistrates in Gozo, observed that the victim had suffered permanent scarring to the left cheek and right forearm, chronic pain, paraesthesias and cramps after moderate exertion to the right forearm. His right hand’s grip strength had been significantly and permanently reduced, leading to clumsiness.

The magistrate examined the elements required for damages and how they are assessed, in detail. A plastic surgeon had adjudged the man’s disability as being 10%, but other doctors had assessed it at 5%. The court took the middle path and established the permanent disability as being 8%, noting that he would also require treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

After taking into account the man’s lost earnings, the cost of replacing the tooth and other factors, the court arrived at the sum of €16,455, ordering the defendants to pay.

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