A mother was acting in self-defence when she stabbed her former partner after he forced his way into her home at night, subjecting her to the umpteenth bout of violence, a lawyer has insisted in court.
Lawyer Stefano Filletti was making final submissions in proceedings against the woman, who stands accused of attempted murder.
The incident happened three years ago, but Filletti observed that that was far from having been the first violent episode for the woman, who had broken off her relationship with the man as she could no longer put up with his violent and abusive streak.
Despite the break-up, the man would not give up, persisting in his attempts to have sex with her and beating her when she refused.
“She could have no other man. Only he,” Filletti said.
Beaten 'black and blue'
The accused faced domestic violence “because she was a woman, the fairer sex, and her partner beat her black and blue because he was stronger,” he added.
Yet in spite of calling for help on many previous occasions, “the police did nothing. They neither checked nor investigated. Nothing!” her lawyer stressed.
The accused had even presented in court recordings of those calls where she was heard begging for help.
And that night, history repeated itself.
Around midnight the man had turned up outside her apartment, banging on the door and finally forcing his way in while her young son slept.
He pushed the accused into the bedroom and tried to rape her, but she managed to get away, running to the kitchen with her aggressor at her heels.
He pinned her against the cupboard, beating and punching her in the face.
That was when she grabbed the first thing at hand, a kitchen knife, and stabbed him, running to her son who had been sleeping in a bedroom when the incident took place.
Her landlord, alerted by neighbours to the commotion taking place inside the flat, turned up sometime later, finding the damaged front door and his tenant “all bloody and disoriented.”
The landlord had testified about his shock in finding such a scene and how he had handled the woman who was visibly afraid and upset, Filletti went on.
On the other hand, the accused’s former partner and alleged victim in this case, rather than seeking medical help or filing a police report had gone to his friend’s home.
It was his friend who, “perhaps unfortunately for the man,” had called an ambulance, pointed out the lawyer.
“Why didn’t he go for help if he was innocent? He knew he was in for trouble because he knew he was the cause of it all.”
Following her arrest, the woman had admitted that she hit her aggressor with a knife because he was beating and trying to rape her.
Woman was consistent in her evidence
She remained consistent in her version when testifying in court.
“Absolute uniformity,” stressed Filletti, adding praise for the woman who, in spite of all her troubles, had managed to hang on, found a “roof for herself and her son” and was getting on with life.
The accused wept silently in the dock as her lawyer praised her for her perseverance.
Unlike the accused, the alleged victim first told police that he was stabbed, but then chose not to testify in court.
And rather than be deterred by that incident, the man persisted in the same pattern of behaviour.
Pending these proceedings, he had tracked down the accused at her new address and repeated the aggression.
“Will the police take action against him now?”asked Filletti.
He wrapped up his defence by arguing that all the legal requisites for legitimate self-defence existed, since the violence was sudden, grave and inevitable.
'Victim' chose not to testify
Earlier in the hearing, prosecuting Inspector Eman Hayman said that the alleged victim could have shed light upon this case but had opted not to testify.
There was no doubt that there had been an argument which escalated, Hayman said.
The woman had also filed several reports and in fact, her former partner had been arrested, charged with harassment and admitted to the charges some days ago, explained the prosecutor.
However, on the day of this incident, the woman did not go to the police station, which was merely a few steps away from her home.
Police had to track her down and the landlord subsequently testified that the woman had said that she had “finally got rid of him [her ex].”
The accused was to be found guilty, but perhaps an effective jail term should not be inflicted, concluded Hayman.
Rebutting the prosecution’s doubt as to why the accused had not gone to the police, her lawyer pointed out that she had been “stunned and afraid.”
“Besides, after 12 calls to the police and nothing was done, I don’t blame her for not making the police station her first port of call,” concluded Filletti.
Magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo, adjourned the case for judgment in December.
Lawyer Martina Cuschieri was also defence counsel.
(The parties of the case are not being identified to protect the son)