Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Independent: Man let off with a slap on the wrist after trying to run down drunk Australian for gay jibes
Article published on 10 October 2012

Magistrate Carol Peralta yesterday conditionally acquitted Alan Gauci, 36, of Mellieħa after finding him guilty of seriously injuring an Australian by driving at him and hitting him with his car.

The offence was committed on 21 March, 2004 at 4.30am after the two had argued at Zep’s Bar in Mellieħa, shortly before.

The thinking of society in Mellieħa played a part in the court’s deliberations. The Australian, Jeremy Lalic, had been noisy in the bar and was offending Mr Gauci, gesticulating even behind his back, and giving the impression that Mr Gauci was homosexual and propositioning him. Mr Lalic had offended most of those in the bar, but especially Mr Gauci, the court heard.

When later Mr Gauci left for home, as he testified, he was boiling inside him because of what had happened. He felt the Australian deserved to be hit by a car and as it happened, he espied Mr Lalic on the road and drove his car into him.

Dr Andrew Mercieca, who examined Mr Lalic in the hospital’s emergency department, said the victim was inebriated. And eyewitnesses at the bar said Mr Lalic and his companion had been removed from the bar because they were offending everyone present, and were being noisy.

Magistrate Peralta, handing down sentence, said Mr Gauci lived in Mellieħa and in his mind had a reputation to defend there. The incident occurred in Mellieħa, in the presence of townspeople, and the insinuation that Mr Gauci was homosexual, which did not imply any wrong, could have been found to be unacceptable in the town.

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