The Malta Independent 3 February 2023, Friday
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Couple guilty of using money raised for cancer-stricken child on gambling

Tuesday, 24 January 2023, 14:49 Last update: about 9 days ago

A Maltese couple was found guilty of squandering money raised for their cancer-stricken child on gambling.

A court of law presided by Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech found them guilty of defrauding their own son as well as several others by wasting the donations on gambling.

Ryan Debattista, 31, and Nicole Bezzina, 27, of Mosta, admitted that they used their son Kane to raise a significant sum of money. Debattista was also charged with accepting stolen items and breaching his probation.

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In total, the couple had raised around €35,000.

Frendo Dimech reprimanded the couple, saying they had exploited society’s generosity and altruism.

“Instead of appreciating these noble gestures, the accused, without any shame and after deceiving everyone, squandered the donated public funds in order to finance their gambling, something which ultimately only resulted in losses,” she said.

In court, Puttinu Cares’ representatives testified that Kane had been cured of cancer and his parents had taken care of him in a proper manner, giving him all the treatment he needed.

The couple were sentenced to three years’ probation, with the father fined €30,000 and the mother fined €20,000.

A sum of €35,000 as well as the couple’s property were confiscated, and they were banned from going anywhere near gambling or betting shops, as well as horse-racing events, and they cannot partake in any online gambling.

The couple were given a three-year treatment order to battle their gambling addiction.

 

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