Man 'dragged partner by her hair' in argument over child access

The accused was described by the victim's lawyer as 'quick with his fists'

A man has been released on bail following a violent domestic incident in which he allegedly dragged his estranged partner by her hair in an argument over access to the couple’s baby daughter.

The accused, who isn’t being named in order to protect the identity of the alleged victim, is a 20-year-old pastizzeria employee from Qormi.

Magistrate Aaron Bugeja was informed that the police were charging him with attacking and slightly injuring the woman, insulting and threatening her and recidivism.

The youth’s mother, who was present in court, was asked to leave the courtroom as she was the sole witness to the alleged incident.

Lawyer Yanika Bugeja, defence counsel to the accused, requested bail. Prosecuting inspector Roderick Agius objected, however, pointing out that the principal witness had not yet testified and asking the court to detain the accused until she did.

Lawyer Edward Gatt, appearing as parte civile for the alleged victim told the court that his client had made the police report because she had to.

“My client isn’t a punching bag,” added the lawyer, describing the accused as “quick with his fists.” The lawyer further revealed that the accused’s mother had messaged him before the sitting, telling him to ask the court to put a guard outside the victim’s house.

“The problem was brought about by the accused and someone who should know better. He cannot grab my client by her hair and drag her around,” said the lawyer. “For shooting two storks, a person was remanded in custody for three days but a man who beat up a mother in front of her baby can go home like nothing happened. He needs a lesson,” Gatt said.

The court said it needed to be assured that the accused had no contact with the alleged victim, and after retiring to chambers for a considerable amount of time, returned with a workable solution. The magistrate summoned the accused’s mother.

He explained to the woman that bail would be granted if the accused could provide guarantees. He asked the mother to act as a guarantor, explaining that she had to ensure that her son obeyed his bail conditions.

“If he screws up, you get punished too and if you screw up he gets punished too.”

The custody battle over the daughter was the competence of the family court, said the magistrate, responding to a question by the mother.

The court granted the man bail on condition that he doesn’t talk to the alleged victim or her family other than the minimum necessary for access to his child if this was granted by the Family Court.

He was also not allowed to go to Siggiewi, where the woman lived, and to sign a bail book daily. Bail was secured by a deposit of €1,000 and a personal guarantee of €4,000, together with a third party guarantee by his mother for €5,000. If breached by either the mother or the accused the sum of €10,000 would be confiscated by the government, explained the court.

A temporary supervision order and a protection order were also imposed on the accused.

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