Man pleads guilty to carrying knife, pepper spray in Swieqi

'If you get beaten up, you go to a doctor and to the police. You don’t carry knives around,' Police Inspector argues in court

Matthew Agius
18 September 2017, 4:30pm
A Macedonian man has pleaded guilty to carrying a knife and pepper spray in public without police permission after his arrest in Swieqi early this morning.

Inspector Trevor Micallef arraigned 28-year-old Naxxar resident Trajan Bodganovski before magistrate Marseanne Farrugia this afternoon, accusing him of offences under the Arms Act.

Bodganovski had been arrested after the police received a report about two people in Swieqi trying car door handles, apparently to see if they were unlocked.

The men were found and arrested, with officers finding a can of pepper spray and a knife in the man’s possession.

As there was insufficient evidence of attempted theft, Bodganovski’s companion was released without charge.

Speaking through a translator, the accused pleaded guilty. His lawyer, Benjamin Valenzia explained that Bodganovski had been in Malta for the past two months, visiting his brother who has lived here for several years and was due to return in the coming days.

He said that he had been attacked some days before and took to carrying the weapons as a precaution.

Magistrate Marseanne Farrugia observed that the charges carried a punishment ranging from three months to 10 years imprisonment.

But after being given time to reconsider his guilty plea, the youth opted to reaffirm it.

Inspector Micallef suggested that a suspended sentence and a fine would suffice as Bodganovski had no prior convictions and had admitted at the early stages of proceedings, but Valenzia opined that there should not even be a suspended sentence, “otherwise half of Malta would be guilty.”

“If you get beaten up, you go to a doctor and to the police. You don’t carry knives around,” retorted the inspector.

In view of the man’s admission, the court said it had no option but to find him guilty as charged.

In its deliberations on punishment, the court said that his explanation was not credible because he had not made a police report or medical report.  

“He certainly had not been going fishing,” remarked the magistrate.

“As the prosecution said, God forbid that everyone in Malta carried knives and pepper sprays, just in case.’” As the accused had been in Malta for two months and was due to leave in four days, the fact that he had a clean record “did not help the court much,” it said. The man was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for four years together with a €58 fine, which was paid immediately.

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