Perth Priest
Perth clergyman Thomas Byrne in court over ear-biting brawl (WikiCommons)

An 80-year-old former Australian Catholic priest is to plead guilty to assault after he bit off a fellow clergyman's ear during a row over a parking spot.

Thomas Byrne appeared before Perth magistrates court where his lawyer, Seamus Rafferty, told the judge that his client would plead guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm.

Rafferty was given an adjournment to seek more information in the case, the West Australian reported.

In November, Byrne attacked his neighbour, Fr Thomas Smith, 81, at their retirement home in the Perth suburb of Dianella, when a row broke out over a parking space.

After they calmed down, Byrne reportedly told Smith to pick up something he had lost during the brief scuffle. That something turned out to be a part of Smith's ear, the court heard, but he did not realise that until he got back to his room and took the object out of his pocket.

Byrne was granted bail and ordered not go within 30ft of Smith, even though they live in the same building.