A man appeared before magistrate Monica Vella yesterday accused of punching and biting his son in an argument that started with a packet of peanuts.
Inspector Trevor Micallef charged the man with causing fear that he would use violence, slightly injuring the boy, breaching the peace and insulting or threatening his 14 year-old son.
The man’ s legal aid lawyer Benjamin Valenzia and the police inspector approached the bench where they dis cussed the case out of earshot of the public.
Sources said that the two came to blows after the boy laughed at his father for spilling a packet of Peanuts and the accused had switched off the family’s WiFi in retribution. In the ensuing fracas, the father had bitten his son on the leg.
Valenzia asked for a ban on the publication of the names of the accused and the injured party. The court upheld the request and ordered journalists present not to carry the names in their stories. The accused pleaded guilty.
The court asked if he knew what this meant. “I’m not understanding exactly, ” was his honest reply. The court explained the implications of a guilty plea to the man, who reiterated his plea. “So what am I to do to correct Him?” blurted out the man. The court said it was not the forum for these questions and directed him to his lawyer.
The court, having taken into account the particular circumstances of the case said it felt that prison would not be ideal, sentencing the man to 150 hours of community work instead.
A 6 month protection order was also issued in favor of the boy. The man was concerned that this meant that he would not be allowed to speak to his son. “You can speak to your son civilly, but the incident must not be repeated nor anything like it, said the court.