Court orders treatment for jilted husband who stalked wife for three years

The husband's lawyer likens the harassment case to Romeo and Juliet

A 51-year-old man from Fgura has been charged with harassing his estranged wife and threatening her current partner.

Inspector Roxanne Tabone arraigned the man, who is not being named due to a court order, on charges of harassment, causing his estranged wife to fear violence, stalking her, misuse of electronic communications equipment and threatening her partner.

Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit heard how the man was legally separated but had been unable to come to terms with the breakup of his marriage and had persecuted the woman and her partner for years with messages and phone calls, which were often threatening in nature.

The couple had been separated for three years, but the man had not accepted this state of affairs and would call the woman twice daily using different mobile phones and from different numbers, showing her that he knew where she was. Unable to cope anymore, and after the man had threatened her partner, the woman had reported him to the police on 14 August.

Investigators had zeroed in on him after he had sent a message to his son from one of the burner phones. Police searching his residence had found the phones and various SIM cards hidden in a bag of cat litter.

After the parties consulted privately with the magistrate in court this afternoon, lawyers Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri, assisting the accused, entered a plea of guilt.

In his submissions on punishment, Debono explained to the court that the man was going through a separation and was not taking it well as he loved his wife very much. ”Sincerely this reminds me of a passage from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, ‘Here's much to do with hate but more with love,’” quoted the lawyer.

The court admonished the man, telling him that he cannot force a person to love him. “You need help to find a purpose in life and my sentence will reflect this. You will also be placed under a protection order in favour of your wife and her current partner. Do not contact her or reply if contacted by her,” said the magistrate.

Inspector Tabone exhibited the burner mobile phone from which he used to send the messages. The court ordered its destruction, after consulting with the parties.

The Court placed the man under probation for two years and imposed a two-year treatment order on him, also ordering him to keep the peace for the next year or face a €1,000 penalty.