Man jailed for spitting at police officers whilst drunk

A 28-year-old Nigerian man, living in Marsa has been jailed and fined after spitting at police officers who tried to stop him from urinating in the street

File photo
File photo

A 28-year-old Nigerian man living in Marsa has been jailed and fined after spitting at police officers who tried to stop him urinating in the street just a month after arriving in Malta.

Ekele Orogodo told the court, presided by Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech that he was sorry for what he had done. He had been arrested on New Year’s Day in Marsa after consuming a large amount of alcohol. Inspector Andy Rotin explained that the man had been urinating in the street when he was approached by RIU officers and had reacted aggressively, subsequently spitting at and insulting them. The incident was captured on video, the court was told.

Orogodo was charged with threatening police officers in the course of their duties, committing an offence against decency in a public place, exposing himself in a public place, disobeying lawful police orders, being drunk and incapable of taking care of himself in public and spitting in public.

The inspector told the court that the accused had arrived in Malta last month and might have to be returned to Italy. He confirmed that no violence was involved in the incident.

“If you can’t handle your drink, why take it?” asked the magistrate. “You’ve been here a month; well done, you have tainted your conduct sheet. If you can’t tolerate alcohol, don’t drink!” The Police are there to be respected, added the magistrate.

Magistrate Frendo Dimech warned Orogodo that he was facing a prison sentence of up to 4 years.

Inspector Rotin said the accused had spent the entirety of his first day under arrest spitting and swearing at the police station but had apologised the day after when the effects had worn off.

“I think you’d better stick to milkshakes,” quipped the magistrate.

Orogodo pleaded guilty to the charges.

In his submissions on punishment, Inspector Rotin suggested a minimum term prison sentence, pointing out that the accused had no money and no work permit.

Lawyer Ramon Bonnett Sladden, appointed as legal aid to the accused, asked that the man be sent back to Italy. The court, however, said it had no power to send him back and that this was the remit of the Commissioner of Police and the Immigration authorities.

“The law is very clear that I must fine you €800 at least. If you cannot pay it, it will be converted to imprisonment…” the magistrate warned the accused.

“I’m sorry for the things…” Orogodo said. The court asked him to confirm that he was admitting the charges, but the accused started to act as if he was not understanding. The court said that it was not happy with the man’s admission at that stage and asked for an interpreter to be found.

When the accused was called back into court sometime later, the magistrate pointed out that English was an official language of Nigeria and urged him not to play games.

Orogodo pleaded guilty to the charges and was jailed for one month and fined €800. “That’s the minimum. That’s how much your drink cost you. You can control your drinking- once you feel tipsy, stop drinking,” the magistrate admonished.