Pensioner granted bail after alleged assault on police, threats to two women near US embassy

Pensioner tried to bite police officer who intervened to break up an altercation outside US embassy in Ta' Qali

A 73-year-old man from Tarxien has been charged over an alleged assault on a police officer guarding the American Embassy, who had stopped him from shouting at and insulting two women in a nearby parking lot.

Charlon Privitelli appeared in the dock before magistrate Rachel Montebello earlier today, accused of having attacked a police constable who was on duty at a fixed point guard post outside the embassy in Ta' Qali on Monday.

Inspector Andrew Agius, prosecuting, told the court the officer had heard a loud argument in the parking area nearby and had gone to see what was happening. When he arrived, he had found Privitelli shouting and insulting a woman and her daughter who were seated inside a car there.

When the officer tried to calm the situation down, the accused tried to bite him, said the inspector, explaining the charges, which included threatening the constable and a police sergeant, slightly injuring the constable, failing to obey legitimate orders and hindering the police in the exercise of their duties.

Privitelli was further charged with giving false particulars to the police, causing the women in the car to fear violence, threatening and insulting them, as well as breaching peace.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Lawyers Veronique Dalli and Dean Hili, defence counsel to Privitelli, told the court the man was requesting bail, arguing that as he was a pensioner as well as an ex-serviceman with a clean criminal record, he did not pose a danger to society.

Dalli told the court the argument appeared to escalate when the police had tried to handcuff the accused.

The prosecution did not object to bail, as long as the accused was prohibited from contacting the alleged victims.

The magistrate upheld the request for bail, releasing the man from arrest against a €200 deposit and a €2,000 personal guarantee, also ordering him to sign a bail book weekly.