Bri­ton found guilty of vi­o­lently re­sist­ing ar­rest has €4,000 added to sen­tence

Malta Independent - - NEWS - He­lena Grech

A Bri­tish man whose case was ap­pealed by the At­tor­ney Gen­eral has had an ad­di­tional €4,000 fine im­posed upon him. He had orig­i­nally re­ceived a sus­pended sen­tence for as­sault­ing a po­lice in­spec­tor and jumping on the bon­net of a po­lice car.

The in­ci­dent took place on 17 Au­gust 2014, when in­spec­tor God­win Scerri had been on duty di­rect­ing traf­fic at an event in Qawra. He told the court how Paul Alan Sned­don ap­proached him to get help on a dis­pute be­tween the Brit and a neigh­bour.

Mr Scerri was un­able to leave his post at the time. The court heard how the other po­lice of­fi­cer who was on duty with him was sort­ing out an­other in­ci­dent, and so Mr Scerri ad­vised the ac­cused to wait pa­tiently for roughly 15 min­utes for the po­lice car that was due to show up.

The courts heard how Mr Sned­don, de­scribed as be­hav­ing in an “ag­gres­sive, ar­ro­gant and sar­cas­tic” man­ner, swore at the po­lice of­fi­cer – who ar­rested him then and there.

Wit­nesses who took the stand said that the ac­cused tried to make an es­cape from the crowded area by jumping onto the bon­net of the near­est po­lice car.

This re­port­edly led to a com­mo­tion where the ac­cused kicked and punched po­lice of­fi­cers. The in­spec­tor tes­ti­fied that while locked on the ground, un­able to move, the ac­cused “tried to in­flict in­jury” to the of­fi­cers re­strain­ing him. Med­i­cal cer­ti­fi­ca­tion was pre­sented in court which showed how Po­lice Sergeant Ivan Mif­sud was struck on the groin. It also tran­spired that Sergeant Mif­sud’s ra­dio was also dam­aged.

Mag­is­trate Au­drey Demi­coli who had ini­tially presided over the case handed Mr Sned­don an eight month prison sen­tence, sus­pended for two years. The At­tor­ney Gen­eral filed an ap­peal shortly after, on the grounds that sec­tion 96(a) of the Crim­i­nal Code pro­vides that when a per­son is found guilty of vi­o­lently re­sist­ing ar­rest, they are sub­ject to both a prison sen­tence as well as a fine. In its ap­pli­ca­tion, it said the first Court was not cor­rect in dish­ing out only a prison term.

Jus­tice Gio­vanni Grixti, pre­sid­ing over the Court of Crim­i­nal Ap­peal, up­held the AG’s ap­peal. He did how­ever note com­ments made in the first Court where it was said that the po­lice of­fi­cers could have taken the time to ex­plain why the of­fi­cer could not leave his post, and that they also could have shown a lit­tle pa­tience.

“Although these re­marks can­not be in­ter­preted in a man­ner in which the First Court in­tended to ap­ply a lesser penalty this Court will ap­ply the min­i­mum pe­cu­niary penalty in or­der to re­flect the pre­oc­cu­pa­tion sounded by the said First Court,” the judg­ment reads.

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