Sentence for student who assaulted university dean reduced on appeal

Student had in 2013 been found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm and sentenced to six months' imprisonment, suspended for a year, but has now had this reduced to a conditional discharge

An appeals court has reformed a sentence handed to a commerce student who seriously injured a university dean during graduation celebrations seven years ago.

In 2013, the student, Glanville Goodlip, of Iklin, had been found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm to the Dean of the Faculty of Sciences, Charles Sammut and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for a year.

Sammut says he grabbed an air horn the student was sounding in his ear and pushed him away, and the student reacted by pushing him to the ground.

Goodlip had told the court that the dean had thrown the first punch and that he had reacted instinctively.

Sammut suffered a fractured left shoulder, a black eye and bruising as a result of the assault.

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The defence had submitted that he had been provoked. At worst, Goodlip’s lawyers said, he had acted excessively in celebration and this meant that the criminal intent required at law was absent.

The accused had just started working as an auditor, and a conviction would result in his life’s efforts being ruined. “It cannot be said that the accsued is a person of bad character of a terror to society. He isn’t a criminal that lost his way in life…”

Replying to those submissions, the Attorney General pointed out that the self-defence argument had to be with regards to a threat that was inevitable: sudden, actual and absolute. The fact that the victim had grabbed his air horn and thrown it to the ground did not excuse the man’s actions.

The court of criminal appeal, presided by Judge Antonio Mizzi said that it was of the opinion that legitimate self defence and provocation were both absent in this case. However, it noted that other charges of being part of an assembly intent on breaching the peace did not stand up to scrutiny.

For these reasons the court confirmed the sentence with regards the bodily harm and breaching the peace as an individual, but overturned it with regards to breaching the peace as part of an assembly. His sentence was reduced to a conditional discharge for three years.

Lawyers Veronique Dalli and Dean Hili were defence counsel.

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