A 27-year-old nightclub bouncer will be spending the start of the New Year behind bars after pleading not guilty to seriously injuring a football supporter celebrating Argentina's World Cup triumph.

Serbian national Marko Jerotic-Mitrovic, who lives in St Julian’s, denied assaulting and injuring Sergio Ramírez Lesmes on December 18. He was also charged with disturbing the peace and with working as a bouncer without the required licence.

Lesmes had been celebrating with other fans in Paceville. He attempted to enter Native Bar, a reggaeton club frequented by the Latino community, but was denied entry. When he asked security at the door why they would not let him in, he claims he was heavily beaten up.

“I thought I was going to die there,” Ramírez Lesmes told Times of Malta last week. 

A hospital report described the Colombian photographer’s injuries as “grievous”, having had his nose broken in three places.

Sergio Ramírez Lesmes took to Instagram to express his feelings after the beatingSergio Ramírez Lesmes took to Instagram to express his feelings after the beating

Native Bar had said the club outsourced its security, and the matter had been referred to the contractor.

Magistrate Charmaine Galea turned down the defence requests for bail at this stage, given that another person involved in the incident is yet to be found by the police.

Police inspector Keith Xerri prosecuted.

Lawyers Shazoo Ghaznavi and Charlon Gouder were defence counsel.

Lawyer Julian Farrugia appeared parte civile on behalf of the injured party.

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