Italian man charged with domestic violence turned away from making police report due to language barrier

The 70-year-old man is granted bail and ordered not to approach his wife and her children

The court granted the man bail against a €10,000 deposit
The court granted the man bail against a €10,000 deposit

An Italian man accused of domestic violence told the court that he had previously gone to the police to report marital problems but was sent away as none of the officers at the police station could speak Italian.

This emerged as the 70-year-old man was arraigned before Magistrate Yana Micallef Stafrace today. His lawyer, Noel Bartolo, contested the validity of the arrest. “I cannot believe that this man had to be arraigned under arrest,” said the lawyer.
Prosecuting inspector Jonathan Ransley justified the arrest, explaining to the court that the man’s wife of 23 years, together with her son and daughter, had gone to report that they were living in fear of violence.

The police arrested the man after the social services agency Appoġġ rated him as “high risk”.

Cross-examined by Bartolo, the inspector confirmed that the Appoġġ report only spoke of verbal abuse.

Answering another question by the lawyer, the inspector added that no previous reports had been lodged against the man. “I have been stationed there for seven years and his name never cropped up,” said the inspector. He was arrested due to the fear of violence towards the woman and her children, the court was told.

The man, who had to be taken to hospital due to high blood pressure after he was arrested, was in the midst of separation proceedings with his wife, the court heard. He wanted to sell the matrimonial home and take his share of the money.

Bartolo explained that the man had argued with his 16-year-old daughter who was not answering her phone

The lawyer had sent him to the police station to file a report about the matter because he anticipated this situation, he said. But when he went to the police station, he was turned away because the officers there didn’t speak Italian and the man spoke no English. He entered a not guilty plea and requested bail.

The man’s son from a previous marriage took the stand to tell the court that the accused could live with him whilst on bail.

Magistrate Micallef Stafrace released the man on bail against a €10,000 personal guarantee, also ordering the man not to approach or try to speak to his wife or her children whilst on bail.

Lawyers Veronique Dalli and Dean Hili appeared parte civile.

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