Court & Police Tuesday 9 October 2012 - 11:59 by Karl Stagno-Navarra
The insinuation by a drunken tourist that the accused was gay, led the court to believe the accused – from Mellieha – was defending his honour when the accusation was made in the presence of other villagers.
Alan Gauci, 36 of Mellieha, was given a conditional discharged by Magistrate Carol Peralta after admitting to causing permanent disability on an Australian tourist in 2004, when he deliberately ran him over in a car at 4am, on the basis that the accused - a Mellieha resident - had defended his honour after he was called "gay" by the tourist.
Magistrate Peralta said in his judgement that the accused "lives in Mellieha, and in his psyche, had a reputation to defend in his village."
"The incident happened in Mellieha, and before fellow villagers, so the insinuation that the accused was 'gay' - even if there is nothing wrong with that - perhaps in the accused's psyche and other villagers', was not acceptable."
Gauci was conditionally discharged after the court noted that he had been provoked into reacting the way he did, when he drove his Sunbeam vehicle onto Australian national Jeremy Lalic, seriously injuring him and causing him permanent disability.
The incident happened on the night of March 21, 2004 when Gauci and his friends were drinking at Zap's Bar in Mellieha. Lalic and his friend walked into the bar, and according to the prosecuting police inspector, drank heavily to the extent that they got drunk, and started to make noise and annoy patrons.
Gauci said that he did not react to gesticulations made by Lalic behind his back, that implied he was a gay man, but the prosecuting inspector said he was heard saying that "this man [Lalic] deserves to be run over by a car."
The Australians were subsequently kicked out of the bar, and Gauci left some time afterwards, only to find Lalic and his friend walking up the road.
It was here that Gauci decided to drive into them, hitting Lalic and seriously injuring him.
In its judgement, the Court relied on evidence given by the prosecutor Inspector Michael Mallia, who said that the incident was a result of provocation. "In the circumstances of how things evolved, nothing would have happened had things gone differently."