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