The Malta Independent 4 December 2021, Saturday

Birkirkara supporters charged over stadium brawl, released on bail

Tuesday, 23 November 2021, 13:56 Last update: about 11 days ago

Two Birkirkara FC supporters have been charged with attacking a police officer during a football match on Sunday.

The incident took place amid unrest by supporters during the Birkirkara-Santa Lucija Premier League match, which Birkara lost 0-2.

Kerstin Falzon, 21, and Jake Attard, 19, both from Birkirkara were arraigned on Tuesday morning.

Before Magistrate Monica Vella, they were charged with assaulting a police constable and using offensive language.

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Falzon was further accused of damaging a camera being operated by the police and committing an offence whilst on bail.

Inspector Paul Camilleri, prosecuting, said several supporters were involved in a disturbance in the stadium’s VIP area. The police removed the instigator – an unnamed member of the Birkirkara FC committee – leading to vociferous objections from a number of supporters.

One officer then went to move supporters away from the Perspex, since nobody is allowed to stand during the match.

A group of ‘ultras’ approached and protested against the police action. The officer ended up being surrounded by six supporters and requested backup. He suffered slight injuries in the scuffle.

The inspector told the court that the two accused could be clearly seen in the footage.

Lawyers Richard Sladden and Franco Debono, appearing for Attard, said their client was not seen assaulting the police and had not insulted anyone. Attard, they said, had only tried to pull his 17-year-old brother away from the fray. This was a monentary thing and their client had a clean criminal record, they said.

But the inspector rebutted that the incident should not have taken place to begin with, and the accused should not have left his seat. The accused was the first to go to the VIP gate and his brother later joined him in insulting rival supporters.

Lawyer Noel Bianco, representing Falzon, said his client had gone to help his 17-year old friend and had cooperated with the police.

Both men were granted bail against a deposit of €1,000 and a personal guarantee of €3,000. They must sign the bail book once a week.

The court also issued a protection order in favour of the police constable.

Photo: TVM

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