A man who was charged today with assaulting police officers and taking part in a bar fight in Paceville has claimed that he was beaten up by a police officer inside the St Julian's station after he went to file a report.
Lee Michael Robertson, 20, from Xemxija, was charged with assault, resisting arrest and injuring another man in a fight outside a popular St Julian's bar, which is just a stone's throw from the station. He appeared in court with a bandaged hand and bruises on his face.
Lawyer Rachel Tua, appearing for Mr Robertson, said her client was contesting the validity of his arrest.
She said Mr Robertson was attacked at the bar and injured his hand. He rushed to the police station to file a report but an officer allegedly told him to get out and wipe the blood off before going back in. An exchange of words then took place and the officer, Dr Tua said, passed offensive remarks about the accused's father. Mr Robertson was then allegedly thrown to the ground by the officer and had his head slammed to the ground. She also claimed that the man had his injured arm twisted as he was handcuffed. The lawyer said some of Mr Robertson's friends had witnessed the incident and would be summoned to testify.
Dr Tua said the police would not allow Mr Robertson to speak to her while under arrest. He was held for the entire night and a statement was taken the following morning. She added that the police officer who allegedly beat up Mr Robertson was present in the interrogation room, and her client felt intimidated.
The accused, she said, was not even told why he was arrested.
"My client was then charged with injuring the person who, in fact injured him. Police are there to help citizens, not scare them," the lawyer said. "His arrest was arrogant and inhumane. There was no need to bash up his face. You could have caused him permanent injury."
Inspector Matthew Spagnol, prosecuting, said Mr Robertson was arrested for injuring an officer, refusing to give his particulars, causing a commotion and fighting at a bar. The police had done their job and had a duty to protect people, he said.
Magistrate Monica Vella ruled that the arrest was justified and legal. She granted bail against a deposit of €1,200 and a personal guarantee of €8,000.