An 89-year-old man who allegedly used a handgun to settle a junkyard dispute may have had his hopes for a plea deal scuttled by prosecutors.
Paolo Mannici faced the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today over the incident last year, which left his alleged victim in hospital.
Police are accusing the Italian octogenarian of arming himself with a Beretta handgun after he had a falling out with his alleged victim over material being dumped at Mr Mannici’s junkyard in Ravenhall.
Investigators have charged the great-grandfather, who suffers from a weak heart, back problems and vertigo and takes more than a dozen pills a day, with six offences including recklessly causing serious injury and unlawful assault.
Today, the 89-year-old’s lawyer, Nelson Brown, told the court that the case had “resolved” and that he would plead guilty to two charges – reckless conduct endangering life and possessing an unregistered handgun.
Mr Brown said his client would also ask for his case to stay in the magistrates court where the penalties are lower.
But the prosecutor, Emma Fargher, said the case had not yet been settled.
“There’s a factual dispute regarding intention,” Ms Fargher said.
In December last year, Mr Mannici is accused of approaching his alleged victim from behind with a handgun and shooting him in the arm before advancing on him.
The court previously heard that the gun allegedly went off while the pair struggled, causing the man to be shot again, before Mr Mannici was overpowered and the weapon was wrested from him.
“It’s quite a significant dispute as to what the factual basis is in terms of intention, whether the firearm was actually shots fired or whether simply discharge of the firearm,” Ms Fargher, the prosecutor, said.
“The best way to deal with this matter is a short two-week adjournment so that any further negotiations can be carried out, and it may be that this matter has to proceed on pleas of not guilty and be committed up to the county court on the next date,” she said.
Mr Mannici, who is on bail, today appeared in court by video link from his home where he waved at the camera twice.
The hearing was relayed to him through an Italian interpreter.
“Va bene, grazie [OK, thanks],” said Mr Mannici after listening to the translation.
His bail was extended and he will return to court in June.
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