No bail for man who injured policeman during arrest

The man resisted arrest and attacked a police officer, whilst trying to flee from custody 

The man was arrested and will be charged with resisting arrest and injuring a police officer (File Photo)
The man was arrested and will be charged with resisting arrest and injuring a police officer (File Photo)

A man has been remanded in custody after being accused of assaulting and seriously injuring a policeman who was trying to arrest him on Sunday.

Mario Baldacchino, 51 of Qormi, was arraigned before magistrate Rachel Montebello this morning. Baldacchino was accused of violently resisting arrest, threatening officers in the course of their duties and grievously injuring one of them. He was additionally accused of insulting and threatening a third party and breaching a suspended sentence.

The incident happened in Qormi on September 26, when the police called at Triq il-Kus following a report that the 51-year-old was threatening and being aggressive towards another person.

The man refused to obey police orders and tried to flee when told he would be arrested, the police said.  A policeman was injured and had to be taken to hospital by ambulance, where he was certified as having been grievously injured.

Baldacchino pleaded not guilty and requested bail.

Inspector Kevin Pulis, prosecuting together with Inspector Roderick Agius, objected to the request, saying that evidence and civilian witnesses were yet to be heard. The accused’s wife was present for his arrest, said the inspector.

“If there is going to be bail, the court should know that he and the victim know each other and have connections,” said the inspector. “In addition, there is the gravity of the crime. We are talking about three officers who were doing their duties. One was nearly was hit in the head with a footstool. Another suffered a knee injury and will have to spend the next 6 weeks off work, going to and from hospital. Luckily, we have bodycam footage of the aggression on the police. We need the testimony of the other people for the charges of insults and threats to third parties.”

“He has a breach of a suspended sentence for grievous bodily harm. His criminal record and the acts of the case show that he has a problem,” said the inspector. “He drinks all day and causes trouble. We are not at peace with the idea of him returning to society with his lifestyle.”

Lawyer Christian Camilleri, defending the accused, together with lawyer Mario Mifsud, pointed out that the wife was not a competent witness against the accused and that she had engaged the lawyer to defend the man.

The incident should not have escalated to the level it did, said the lawyer, arguing for bail. “We should not hold him under arrest as revenge instead of granting him bail under strict conditions.” Baldacchino had an alternative address that was not in Qormi and the evidence of the incident was preserved by the police bodycams, added the lawyer.

Inspector Roderick Agius objected to the suggestion of revenge in the charges. “If he is sent to prison it is not vengeance but because the law sends him there,” retorted the inspector.

In their rejoinder, the defence argued that bail was the rule and not the exception.

Magistrate Montebello denied the accused bail, however, due to the gravity of the charges and the fact that the court was not convinced that he would obey his bail conditions.