Sydney -

An 80-year-old Australian priest accused of biting off the ear of another elderly Catholic priest in a brawl over a parking space was fined 1 000 Australian dollars (1 030 US dollars) in a Perth court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to assault.

No conviction was recorded against Father Thomas Byrne, who received a black eye in the November 9 incident at the retirement complex where they both lived in the suburb of Daniella.

Father Thomas Smith, 81, underwent 10 hours of surgery to have his severed ear re-attached.

The court heard that after the fight Father Byrne told Father Smith to pick something up off the ground and that it was not until he got home that he realised what he had in his pocket was his right ear.

“I didn't know it was gone. I just picked it up and took it round to the medical centre,” the police statement recorded Father Smith as saying. “It looked like something the cat had eaten - horrible looking thing.”

Speaking to his local newspaper when charges were laid, Smith said he was not out for revenge and would not bear a grudge against his neighbour.

“We don't behave like that. It's the last thing I expected from one of the clergy,” he said. “But I've got no hatred for him. It's not good for you. It warps the soul. You've got to practice what you preach.” - Sapa-dpa