Hector Barbera and his 23-year-old girlfriend have both been convicted of assault in a summary justice procedure in the Spanish courts. An altercation between the couple in a hotel in Jerez got out of hand late Thursday night, resulting in physical violence between the two, leading to them both being convicted for assault. Barbera was given a sentence of six months, and his girlfriend, referred to in reports only by her initials D.P., received a sentence of five months, both of which were commuted to fourteen months' community service, Spanish media are reporting.
According to the reports in the Spanish press, Barbera and his girlfriend had elected to stay on in Jerez for a week, to visit the annual horse fair which started directly after the weekend of the Spanish Grand Prix. The couple had returned to their hotel in Jerez late at night, where a dispute had broken out between the two. According to respected Spanish daily ABC, the argument had started when Barbera's girlfriend D.P. had told the Avintia Blusens rider that she wished to end the relationship. The altercation grew heated, and according to D.P., Barbera grabbed her by the throat, upon which a scuffle between the two had broken out, and she then bit him. Friends of the couple were then called, and the incident reported to the police. D.P. went to hospital for a check up, but her injuries fortunately proved to be just bruising and a bump on the head where she had fallen.
On Friday morning, Barbera and his girlfriend appeared before a summary court set up especially to deal with domestic violence, which remains a serious problem in Spain. When convicting the couple of mutual assault, the judge found that the case was not one of gender-related assault, but merely an argument that had gotten out of hand, and resulted in the two parties both inflicting physical violence upon each other.
The team has yet to issue an official statement on the case, but which Barbera sentenced to community service, his participation in the rest of the season should not be in jeopardy.