Man who turned violent during five-a-side match gets suspended sentence

The man punched an opponent in the eye after the football match got heated

The case came to an end, nine years after the incident
The case came to an end, nine years after the incident

A man was sentenced to one year in prison suspended for two years after he punched a man in the eye during a five-a-side football match.

Inspector Tony Cachia recounted how back in 2010, Richard Attard, a 35-year-old, was at the hockey ground in Qormi during a five-a-side match with his pals when proceedings got “heated”.

The victim testified that during the match, Attard had been constantly elbowing him, until at one point, and without having been provoked, the accused approached him from the other end of the pitch and punched him “straight on”.

Eye specialist Martin Francalanza provided the court with medical documents revealing that the victim had suffered minor fractures around the right eye socket and would continue to permanently suffer from double vision and other eyesight issues.

He explained how the victim had incurred a 10% permanent disability.

Other witnesses who had been present during the football match told how the game had been particularly competitive and that the accused had decided to assault the victim when the latter tackled him.

According to the referee, Attard had even said at some point during the game that if the victim would not get out of the way, he would perforate his eye (nifqagħlek għajnejk).

The victim was operated on multiple times and had a titanium mesh installed in his eye.

Attard pleaded not guilty and said that he had not punched the victim but hit him accidentally during the course of the game.

The court heard how Attard had a decent and stable life and was employed full-time. He had been traumatised by the death of his mother when young, which still affects him to this day.

The court found him guilty of assaulting the victim and of causing him grievous bodily harm. He was sentenced to one year in prison suspended for two years.

Inspector Cachia led the prosecution.

Ian Farrugia was presiding magistrate.

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