PAPHOS, Cyprus -- A British man living in Cyprus says he holds no grudge against a pair of Canadian soldiers accused of beating him up and leaving him bloodied and bruised.
The soldiers, who are in Cyprus for decompression after serving in Afghanistan, appeared in court on Tuesday to face assault charges, the Canadian military confirmed.
The soldiers are charged with beating James Sanford, a British resident of Paphos, Cyprus, on Saturday night while he was out strolling with his wife.
Sanford, 32, was left with a dozen stitches and an eye swollen shut, according to the Sunday Mail newspaper in Cyprus.
But Sanford told the paper he doesn't hold the incident against Canada or its military.
The paper described Sanford as approaching the event with "equanimity and graciousness.''
He was also happy to see two Canadian military police officers at the hospital who appeared to take the incident very seriously, he said.
"The two soldiers who beat me up are not representative of the Canadian army as a whole,'' Sanford told the paper.
"You are bound to get a few bad apples.''
The Canadian military declined to identify the soldiers, their home base or to discuss any of the facts behind the case.
"They would be sentenced tomorrow if found guilty, through a civilian court, in accordance with the Cypriot judicial system,'' said military spokeswoman Lt. Isabelle Riche.
Riche said the Canadian Forces are not taking any part in defending the soldiers. They've hired civilian lawyers for the process.
She said it's premature to discuss what military discipline they might face.
Sanford told the Sunday Mail the confrontation started when the two men made advances on his wife.
"Two of them crossed the street to where we were, one put his hand around her and spat at her feet,'' Sanford said.
After an exchange of words "one of the soldiers hit me on the head with a bottle,'' Sanford told the Sunday Mail.
Police arrested the soldiers and Sanford was taken to Paphos General Hospital for treatment.
"I have 12 stitches on my face and my left eye is swollen,'' Sanford said.
"If my wife wasn't there to shout for help I don't know what could have happened to me.''
Riche said 2,200 Canadian soldiers have gone through the decompression program.
"There has been no similar incidents reported to the authorities involving the public in Cyprus,'' Riche said in an interview from Ottawa.
The Cyprus paper says the incident is just the latest in a string involving foreign soldiers on leave on the Mediterranean island.
Parts of Cyprus are out of bounds to British soldiers after a series of incidents over the years.
About a dozen British soldiers have been implicated in brawls since last spring.