Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Times: ‘No proof’ that girls assaulted for being lesbian - One of girls had broken nose

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 by Matthew Xuereb

Two brothers were fined €500 each for attacking and slightly injuring two teenage lesbians, although the court decided the assault had nothing to do with their sexual orientation.
The incident was the result of bullish behaviour of the two underage and idiotic boys
A 35-year-old woman,who also participated in the assault, albeit limitedly, was fined €50 after being found guilty of threatening one of the girls and breaching the peace.
The brothers, aged 15 and 17, were found guilty of all the charges but in a separate judgment, the girls were cleared of slightly injuring the older brother, assaulting the boys and the woman, and breaching the peace.
The incident took place on January 13 and started with the boys hurling insults at the girls from a nearby balcony. They called them “lesbians” and “twisted” and went down into the square, the girls said.
The 16-year-old girl ended up at a health centre with a fractured nose, a grazed face and bruises to her breasts. Her girlfriend got away with a bruise to the head and scratches on her wrists which she sustained when pushed to the ground.
Magistrate Joseph Apap Bologna said there was absolutely no proof that the boys attacked them because of their sexual orientation.
He noted that the matter had been given a lot of publicity in the media and people had been given the impression this had been a form of “hate crime”, a provision which still did not exist in present criminal laws. But it had not been proven in court that the attack took place because of the girls’ sexual orientation.
The court heard a friend of the two lesbians testifying that one of the victims had been head-butted by one of the aggressors as he declared that he would not shirk from assaulting women.
The girls were watching their friends dancing to music from a mobile phone in the Ħamrun gazebo while the boys and the woman were in a balcony overlooking the garden.
There was conflicting evidence on whether it was the girls who first called the boys “gays” or whether it was the boys who told the girls “lesbians”. What happened later was clear: the boys went down to the garden and an argument, followed by a brawl, ensued.
One of the girls suffered a broken nose.
The magistrate gave more weight to the girls’ version, saying that parts of the boys’ testimony were “not credible”.
Magistrate Apap Bologna said the incident was the result of “bullish” behaviour by the two underage and “idiotic” boys. He therefore cleared the girls of the charges brought against them and fined the brothers €500 each. The 35-year-old woman was only found guilty of threatening one of the girls and was fined €50.
Lawyers Michael and Lucio Sciriha appeared for the boys and the 35-year-old woman.
Lawyer Cedric Mifsud appeared for the two girls.

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