Man refuses to pay bail deposit: 'I go to the Italian embassy'

A recalcitrant Italian man charged with assaulting a police officer, left the courtroom in handcuffs this morning after arrogantly refusing to pay his bail deposit

matthew_agius
Matthew Agius
15 September 2017, 1:01pm
Rabat resident Salvatore Agata, 25, had been questioned in April after refusing to comply with legitimate police orders, in connection with a report over a minor domestic incident.

When he failed to turn up at police station as summoned, a police officer called him up to find out why.

“Agata had told the officer that it was up to him to decide whether to attend or not,” Inspector Elliott Magro explained to Magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera this morning.

After obtaining a warrant for his arrest, the man was taken to the Rabat police station yesterday evening, where he struggled with police officers, tearing one of the officer’s uniforms.

His Maltese girlfriend took to the witness stand today. “We had an argument and someone called the police. It was a normal argument,” she said. “The police arrived and I handed the police my ID card but Salvatore had refused.”

Inspector Magro clarified that the police had received an anonymous call from a female reporting a loud shouting argument and had gone to investigate.

The woman had told officers that the argument was about her not being allowed out, he said. While she had complied with their request to see her ID, the accused had refused, becoming “arrogant and offensive and saying that he was not obliged to give the police his details because he had not called them himself.”

Agata claimed to have studied law and told the officers that they had no right to ask him for ID.

Asked by defence lawyer Martin Fenech, the woman said the disagreement was in the past.

Agata took the witness stand. “The police came inside my house and said ‘give me your documents.’ I said ‘why? I am at home, I am doing nothing wrong.’ And they tell me if I don’t give them document they send me to court.”

“I’m not guilty, I shouldn’t even be in custody,” argued the accused. Bail was requested.

Inspector Magro objected to the man’s release on bail, pointing out that the accused “appeared to have a history of problems with authority and the police. He had to be subdued by force on other occasions.”

Fenech argued that Agata had not been informed as to why he was being arrested. Magro promptly exhibited the torn shirt, saying his reaction was excessive.

The man vociferously objected to his bail conditions, which included a deposit of €1,000 and a personal guarantee of €2,000.  

“I don’t have enough money. Why I have to pay this money?” he demanded from the dock. “If I don’t pay, what happens?” he asked, being informed that if that happened, he would be remanded in custody.

“I go to the Italian embassy. I don’t pay nothing, my life is free,” he said, his voice rising, before arguing with police officers who were trying to reason with him.

The man then declined to surrender his mobile phone and refused, point blank, to comply with the condition of having to sign his bail book every day.

It was calmly explained to the man that the deposit would be returned at the end of the case, but if he breached his bail conditions, said the magistrate, he would be rearrested, lose his deposit and the €2,000 guarantee would become due.

If he did not pay his deposit, he would be remanded in custody until he did, the court explained.

Agata was handcuffed after shouting “where I take my €1,000 from? My dick?” he asked, gesturing towards the referenced organ.

At that point, the man’s girlfriend also started protesting loudly and was ushered out of the courtroom.

He was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs moments later, having exhausted the patience of the court and the prosecution.

“So if I pay the €1,000, then I can go free, right?”

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