A man punched his wife and kicked her in the stomach, rupturing her spleen, two days after he attacked her for failing to prepare food for him after she felt sick, a court heard this morning.

The 32-year-old father of four, whose name cannot be published by court order to protect the identity of the children, was also accused of causing grievous bodily harm, permanent debility, and disfigurement in the face, neck or hands of his wife.

Before Magistrate Monica Vella, he pleaded not guilty to attempted murder but was denied bail.

The incident happened last Sunday at about 9pm.

Initial investigations point towards domestic violence.

Police inspector Elliot Magro, who prosecuted, told the court that they had been alerted about the case on Sunday at around 10pm when the victim, together with her husband's brother, went to the Rabat police station to file a report.

Trouble started brewing on Friday night when the man was allegedly upset that his wife did not prepare food before he left for work.

The victim had said she felt sick and did not have time as she had to feed their animals at their farm.

The situation escalated on Sunday evening when the incident happened.

The prosecution noted that the victim was in a lot of pain, and after being referred to the Mosta health centre, she was immediately rushed to Mater Dei Hospital where she was found to be critical. Although her condition improved following an operation, she is still in the intensive care unit. 

Subsequently, the man was arrested at his place of work and interrogated.

The court acceded to the defence's request for a ban on the publication of his name to safeguard the identity of their four children, including a six-month-old baby. However, the man was denied bail. 

The court acceded to the prosecution’s request for the appointment of a medical expert to compile a report on the injuries suffered by the victim.

Lawyer Kathleen Grima was defence counsel.