Court suspends three-year sentence for man charged with assaulting TM officials

The Naxxar man was charged with punching two Transport Malta officials at the 2020 Nadur Carnival, but has had his original sentence reduced

A three-year prison sentence that had been handed to Clyde Farrugia from Naxxar for punching two Transport Malta officials at the 2020 Nadur carnival has been suspended by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

Madam Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera, presiding the appeal, agreed with the Court of Magistrate’s appreciation of the evidence – in that the testimony of the victims was more credible than that of the accused, but also said that the punishment ought to be reduced in view of the age and criminal record of the accused.

In October 2021, Farrugia, then 24, had been convicted of the assault, being jailed for three years and fined €4,000.

Although condemning Farrugia’s attitude towards public officials, the judge reduced his original sentence of imprisonment for three years, to two years suspended for four. Farrugia was also ordered to pay €956 in costs. The €4000 fine was revoked.

In previous sittings, the court had heard how, moments after being fined for illegal parking, the man had stuffed the contravention notice in his mouth, spat it out and walked away. Soon afterwards, whilst the officials were still standing near the vehicle, the accused had crept up behind them and started punching them in the face.

Farrugia had always insisted that he had acted in self-defence and that the LESA officials had assaulted him first, punching him in the face. CCTV footage of the incident was deemed inconclusive and his sentence was excessive, his lawyers argued.

In a judgement handed down last year, Farrugia had been found guilty by Magistrate Joe Mifsud, who had described the assault as “inexcusable and unacceptable” and had urged respect to be shown to the forces of law and order.

Lawyers Franco Debono, Francesca Zarb and Joseph Grech appeared for Farrugia.