The Malta Independent 29 January 2023, Sunday
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Updated (2): Two charged over Valletta assault on teenagers, bail has been denied

Wednesday, 25 January 2023, 13:54 Last update: about 2 days ago

Two 16-year-olds have been arraigned in connection with an assault in Valletta on Saturday evening that left a 15-year-old male with a broken leg and two other boys injured.

The youths were charged with causing grievous bodily harm, causing four other youths to fear violence, attacking them and insulting them. The accused youths are also facing charges of slightly injuring two other minors.

Both are pleading not guilty and bail has been refused. The court ruled that in view of the fact that the accused are 16-year-old minors, and the alleged victims are also all minors, the names of both the accused boys and their alleged victims cannot be published.

One of the accused is from Valletta, and the other is from Floriana.

Inspector Daryl Borg said the police reacted to a report of a fight. At the scene of the incident, one of the boys was unable to stand up and suspected he had a broken leg. The hospital confirmed it was broken in two places.

The court was told that police were able to identify the perpetrators through CCTV footage. The inspector said further investigations are ongoing with regard to other individuals who might have taken part in the assault.

The inspector said one of the youths was at home and was served with the warrant in the presence of his parents. The other was brought to the police station by his stepfather, who had been called up by the police.

A request for bail was made, which the court decided in Chambers later in the day. Bail was refused by the magistrate and both will be held at the Y.O.U.R.S. residence for young offenders.

During the sitting, the presiding magistrate pointed to the need to update the Criminal Code with regards to offences committed by persons aged between 16 and 18 years of age.

"So [at age 16] they're good to marry, run for politics, work in business, but then they aren't able to be charged as adults. It is a great injustice," magsitrate Donatella Frendo Dimech said.

Taking the witness stand, inspector Kevin Pulis explained how one of the accused, when told he had to come to the police station, had replied “nigi l-ghassa l-ostja” (no fucking way).

Pulis said that later, his mother told the police that he needed legal aid but the legal aid lawyer then informed the inspector that he would be represented by lawyer Franco Debono. Lawyer Arthur Azzopardi is representing the second youth.

Pulis went on to argue that the assault victims were terrorised and the 15-year-old boy with a broken leg would be missing six weeks of school during exam time. 

The arraignment had originally been delayed after Inspector Kevin Pulis informed the court that the charges had not been filed in the court registry yet due to a lack of staff. The court reacted to the news with fury, saying it would be communicating with the CEO. The magistrate observed that the registry was still open at the time and that the sitting could not go ahead without the acts of the case being deposited in court. Once that was done, the sitting began.

Lawyer Charles Mercieca and Giannella De Marco are representing one of the alleged victims as parte civile. Lawyer Stefano Filletti is appearing for two other alleged victims. The remaining alleged victim was represented by his mother.



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