New charge for ear-biting priest
Thomas Henry Byrne File picture: The West Australian

A former clergyman accused of biting another priest's ear off intends to plead guilty after medical reports saw the charge against him downgraded.

Father Thomas Henry Byrne appeared in the Perth Magistrate's Court this morning where his lawyer Seamus Rafferty said medical information obtained in the case did not sustain the charge of causing aggravated grievous bodily harm.

The prosecution agreed that it would discontinue the more serious charge, which would have seen the case move up to the District Court, and replaced it with a charge of assault causing bodily harm.

Mr Rafferty said his client intended to plead guilty to the new charge, which stemmed from an altercation Father Byrne had with his neighbour Father Thomas Joseph Cameron Smith regarding a parking space at their Dianella complex on November 8.

Mr Rafferty asked that the case be adjourned so a report could be obtained regarding his client's lobe which he said may relate to the priest's alleged offending behaviour.

Father Byrne, who has yet to enter a formal plea, had his case adjourned to February 12 and his bail extended.

The West Australian

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