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Court slams 'disrespectful' disregard of arrest warrant

A court has ordered the Commissioner of Police to explain why two people whose arrest it had ordered, had instead been called up at home and told to appear in court

matthew_agius
Matthew Agius
8 August 2017, 1:30pm
The court did not accept this excuse and pointed out that the law gave police 48 hours to detain suspects under arrest before arraigning them in court
The court did not accept this excuse and pointed out that the law gave police 48 hours to detain suspects under arrest before arraigning them in court
A court has ordered the Commissioner of Police to explain why two people whose arrest it had ordered, had instead been called up at home and told to appear in court.

An indignant magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech gave the order this morning, after Antonella Vella, who made her own way to court, together with co-accused Stephen Borg, explained that they had received a phone call yesterday, informing them that they were to appear in court this morning. This despite the court having ordered the couple's arrest, after they had missed a previous sitting in a case where they are accused of theft.

"This is a blatant violation of a court order – an arrest warrant is an arrest warrant. So much so, that when proceedings where a person accused is to be escorted to court under arrest, there must also be a request for bail."

The court also condemned the increasingly pervasive practice of asking people to go to the police station and arresting them there, remarking that this was not the correct procedure and disrespectful to the court. “It must end once and for all," magistrate Frendo Dimech said.

In a decree, the court called upon the Commissioner of Police to file a note by the week's end, indicating the measures taken to definitively address this issue. A copy of the order was also to be served on the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Home Affairs.

"You must go and arrest them at home,” the magistrate said, visibly annoyed at what she termed “a total disregard for the law.”

At the end of the sitting, a police officer explained to the court that he had gone to Stephen Borg's house last night in order to arrest him, but had found his mother, who had called the accused and informed him that he was to appear in court today. The court did not accept this excuse and pointed out that the law gave police 48 hours to detain suspects under arrest before arraigning them in court.

Lawyer Noel Cutajar for Antonella Vella informed the court that his evidence was closed. The case continues in October for Stephen Borg's evidence.

matthew_agius
Court reporter Matthew Agius is a Legal Procurator and Commissioner for Oaths. Prior to re...