Father of 12 children denies domestic violence charges

Wife claims that her husband pushed her down the stairs while the man insisted that he hit her by accident as he was gesticulating during a heated argument

A father of 12 children was granted bail on Thursday after denying the charges of slightly injuring his wife when he allegedly pushed her down the stairs. 

Police told the court that it had answered a call for help and found the woman in a Bormla residence with a bloodied face. 

The court heard how the couple routinely quarreled and these arguments were often heated.

The man, 46, whose identity cannot be revealed in the interest of his children, pleaded not guilty to aggression and forcing his wife to cower from a blow in a Bormla residence, where the argument took place.

Presiding Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit heard how the man was very fond of his children, especially a daughter of four and a half whom he claimed he nurtured from birth. 

"I brought her up, I take her to school everyday and see to all her needs while her mother is at work," the father explained, adding that he loved his family.

Prosecuting inspector Eman Hayman explained how the police found the woman with blood on her face, initially suspecting the worst of circumstances. Luckily, the victim only suffered slight injuries.

The man told the court how he cared deeply for his wife. "We've been together for 28 years. I wish to make up. I love her," he said.

The two parties involved supplied conflicting versions of what happen, Hayman argued, with the wife saying she was forcefully pushed down the stairs as the husband claimed that it was an accident, that he had hit her as he gesticulated wildly during the argument. 

The court upheld a request on bail but the man was given strict instructions and to abide by the terms of a protection order, which meant that he was not to go anywhere near his wife to take up residence elsewhere.

The man lamented the fact that the protection order would prevent him from seeing his pets too. "What about my pets, the dog, parrots and greenfinches I'm leaving behind?"

The court explained that the accused was to sign the bail book three times a week, abide by a curfew between 11pm and 7am and bind himself under a personal guarantee of €8,000. Moreover, he was to observe a protection order which, if breached, could land him with a maximum fine of €7,000 and/or a jail term.

Lawyer Graziella Tanti was legal aid counsel.