An elderly Catholic priest has been fined $1,000 for biting off the ear of another priest in the Perth suburb of Dianella.

Thomas Henry Byrne, 80, pleaded guilty to assaulting Father Thomas Smith, 81, during a fight over a car parking bay at their block of units in November last year.

The Perth Magistrates Court was told the offence was a result of Father Byrne suffering dementia which led to an episode of behaviour that was out of character.

His lawyer told the court Father Byrne was deeply ashamed of what he had done and the effect the case had had on the Church.

The chief magistrate Steven Heath described the case as unique and said Father Byrne's mental illness explained why a man who had dedicated his life to the community could commit such an offence.

He described him as a kind and gentle man who had served the community for almost 60 years.

The magistrate granted Father Byrne a spent conviction order which means he will not have a criminal record.


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