In a vicious attack, an octogenarian Catholic priest in Australia is to plead guilty to having bit off the ear of a fellow priest in Perth. The 80-year-old attacked the clergyman in a dispute over a parking spot in the coastal city. The attack has drawn comparisons to American boxer Mike Tyson, who once tore the ear off an opponent.
Rev. Thomas Byrne appeared before a magistrates court in Perth where defense counsel Seamus Rafferty told the presiding judge that the priest would plead guilty to the assault charges. Attorney Rafferty was given an adjournment to seek more information in the case, according to a report in the West Australian.
Byrne attacked his neighbour, Rev. Thomas Smith, 81, in November 2012 at a retirement home in Dianella,a suburb of Perth, when a row broke out over a parking space. After an exchange of heated words, Rev. Byrne reportedly told Rev. Smith to retrieve something he had lost during the scuffle. It turned out to be a part of Smith's ear, according to Rev. Smith's testimony. Rev. Smith did not realise the loss of his ear until he returned to his room and removed the gory object from his pocket.
Medical information about Rev. Smith's condition did not sustain the charge of causing aggravated grievous bodily harm. Prosecutors agreed to set aside the more serious charge, which would have required trial in a District Court, and replace it with a charge of assault causing bodily harm. Rev. Byrne's bail has been extended. He will appear in court again on February 12.
Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.