Girl's dad bites off ex-boyfriend's ear in big break-up fight

The man was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm and sentenced to a year in prison, suspended for three years

A man who chewed off part of his daughter’s ex-boyfriend’s ear in an argument has been found guilty of grievous bodily harm.

Lawrence Sultana, 59 from Victoria, Gozo, had appeared before magistrate Joe Mifsud accused of grievously injuring Lawrence Galea in June 2017.

Galea lost part of his ear when Sultana bit him in an argument following Galea’s break-up with his daughter, after a three year-long relationship. The men had come to blows when Galea had called at Sultana’s home to collect his personal effects.

The girl’s father had answered the door and asked him what he had come back for. He told Galea to leave. Sultana had ordered him out of the property, but Galea had ignored him.

The men gave contrasting versions of what happened next, but in the ensuing fisticuffs, part of Galea’s ear was bitten off by the accused.

Sultana had claimed that he was defending himself from an assault in the best way he could, but the court had ruled that his response was not proportionate to the threat.

Legitimate self defence requires a threat that is unjust, grave and inevitable, said the court, and although these criteria were probably satisfied, the retaliation was excessive.

The court emphasised that one must bear in mind the provocation, although starting a feud because of a break up it is never justified. Ending the relationship was an issue between the accused’s daughter and the injured party, said the court, and the accused had no reason to interfere. “he should have told the injured party that she’d speak to him when she’s ready.”

Finding him guilty of exceeding the limits of self-defence, the court condemned the man to one year's imprisonment, suspended for three years, and bound him not to harass Galea against a personal guarantee of €2,000.

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