The Criminal Appeals Court presided by Mr Justice Michael Mallia has changed a conditional discharge ruling to a 12-month jail term to a 37-year-old man of Mellieha who had caused serious injuries to an Australian.
The incident had started in a bar after the Australian had offended the Maltese by calling him “gay”.
Alan Gauci had been conditionally discharged for three years by Magistrate Carol Peralta.
The Appeals Court ruled that the two were drinking in a bar and an argument had developed, with the Australian calling the Maltese man “gay”. Some 40 minutes later, Gauci had run over Jeremy Lalic while driving. This lapse of time does not help the accused, the Appeals Court ruled, because he had had enough time to reflect on what he was about to do.
A person of normal temperament would have cooled down after the argument and not behave the way Gauci did.
The Magistrate’s court had, in its ruling, taken into consideration the mentality of the Mellieha people, a consideration that had raised controversy when the original judgment was given.