A man accused of injuring his wife in an early-morning argument, was let off the hook after the woman refused to testify, voicing hope of mending the couple’s stormy relationship.
The 40-year old Mqabba man was arrested and prosecuted soon after the alleged violent episode which took place at the couple’s home at around 6am on March 9.
Later that afternoon, his wife turned up at Zurrieq police station claiming to be the victim of aggression and further stating that it had not been the first episode of its kind.
Social agency Appoġġ were called in to assess the situation, returning a high risk assessment report which prompted the police to issue charges and to arraign the alleged aggressor under arrest.
The man was granted bail after pleading not guilty to harassment, slightly injuring his wife, causing her to fear violence as well as insulting and threatening her.
Three months on, when the proceedings continued before the Magistrates’ Court, the woman took the witness stand, saying that she had since forgiven her husband and had no wish to pursue the case any further.
She explained how the accused was the father of her young son and that her wish was to save their marital relationship, adding that her husband had promised to undergo rehabilitation to overcome his drug problem.
Magistrate Marse-Ann Farrugia warned the woman about the consequences her decision would have upon the case, likely resulting in insufficient evidence to convict the husband. The woman stood by her decision and asked the court to exempt her from testifying.
All that remained was the police report, the accused’s own statement denying the wrongdoing and the medical certificate attesting that the woman had a red and swollen cheek when examined by the doctor. Yet that doctor, when summoned to testify, could not recall what the patient had told him about the injuries and did not keep written records of patients’ accounts, adding that the red and swollen cheek could have been caused through various incidents.
The court declared that there was insufficient evidence proving the case beyond reasonable doubt and thus pronounced an acquittal.
Lawyers Franco Debono, Marion Camilleri and Francesca Zarb were defence counsel.
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