The Malta Independent 26 May 2019, Sunday

Man breaks down in court, pleads to be sent to prison instead of Mount Carmel Hospital

Neil Camilleri Friday, 10 June 2016, 16:28 Last update: about 4 years ago

A man who was charged with harassing and threatening his partner today broke down in a courtroom and pleaded with a magistrate to send him to prison instead of Mount Carmel Hospital.

The man, who cannot be named by order of the court, was charged with following his former wife, causing her to fear that violence would be used against her, as well as harassing and threatening the woman. He was also charged with failing to observe bail conditions, breaching a protection order and relapsing.

The accused had several previous convictions on similar offences and, in one case had even brandished a fake weapon after waiting for the woman to pick their children up from school.

Defence lawyers Franco Galea and Michael Sciriha said the man was receiving psychiatric care and was not fit to stand trial. A court-appointed expert will now assess the accused. In view of this fact, the accused did not enter a plea.

During submissions on bail, Inspector John Spiteri said the accused needed help which could not be community-based. He also referred to a statement given by the accused. It is understood that the man said he had “nothing to lose” and that there was nothing left “but to kill his wife.”

The defence lawyers said the man could be let out on bail and still be treated at Mount Carmel Hospital. This would mean that he would stay in a general ward rather than the forensic unit, which is where he would have to stay if bail is denied.

The court recommended to the director of prisons to hold the accused in the general ward but the defence pointed out that the director might object. Magistrate Joe Mifsud said he was ordering the director to send the accused to Mount Carmel. “I answer to God above all and I will not jeopardise anyone’s life over some technicality.”

At this point the accused broke down and pleaded with the magistrate not to send him to Mount Carmel. “I am asking you to send me to prison instead,” he said. The man said he was suffering from shortness of breath and an ambulance was called. 

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