Tuesday, October 9, 2012, 11:51
[See parallel article here.]
Magistrate Carol Peralta. Photo: Kenan Pasic
A Mellieha man who seriously injured an Australian who implied he was gay, got off with a conditional discharge today after the court considered he had been provoked, and that the perceived insult might not have been acceptable in a locality like Mellieha.
The incident happened in the early hours of March 21, 2004.
The court heard that Alan Gauci, 36, had been in a bar when with Australian Jeremy Lalic insinuated that he (Gauci) was gay.
In his police statement the accused admitted he was fuming as he left the bar and started heading home, and he admitted thinking that the Australian deserved to be hit by a car.
As he drove home, he saw Lalic and ran him over, causing him serious permanent injuries.
During the proceedings, the prosecutor said he did not think the incident would have happened had there not been provocation.
Magistrate Carol Peralta in his sentence said that the court agreed with what the prosecutor had said about provocation, more so when one considered not only the nature of the incident, but where it had taken place and the mentality of society there.
The accused was a resident of Mellieha and, to his mind, he had a reputation to safeguard. While there was nothing wrong in being gay, the fact that the imputation was made before the people of Mellieha might, in the mind of the accused and the people of the locality, have been unacceptable.
In view of the provocation that was made, the cooperation of the accused, the absence of a criminal record and the passage of time, the court decided to reduce the punishment by two grades.
However, the court underscored the seriousness of what had taken place and said the accused should thank God that the victim survived.
The accused was then conditionally discharged for three years.