No bail for man charged with grievously injuring neighbour and two-year-old toddler

A 41-year-old bus driver pleads not guilty to grievously injuring a two-year-old boy and his father inside their home in Zabbar

Court refuses bail for man charged with grievously injuring a father and his toddler son
Court refuses bail for man charged with grievously injuring a father and his toddler son

A 41-year-old bus driver from Zabbar has been remanded in custody accused of attacking and grievously injuring a neighbour and his two-year-old son inside their home.

The accused, Adrian Buttigieg, was also charged with injuring the child’s mother, albeit slightly. Buttigieg pleaded not guilty to the charges.

When Buttigieg was arraigned before Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech on Thursday morning by Inspectors Kurt Farrugia and Darryl Farr, his lawyer Robert Galea contested the validity of the arrest.

Inspector Farrugia took the witness stand, testifying to how on 11 April, the accused had gone to the police station of his own accord, to report the fight and presenting a medical certificate showing that he had suffered slight injuries. However, after filing the report, the accused had returned to the scene of the incident, said the inspector.

The inspector explained that the police had subsequently received further details relating to the incident yesterday. Magistrate Nadine Lia had issued a warrant for his arrest, after the other parties to the fight had been certified as having suffered grievous injuries. The police then called Butigieg to the police station and arrested him there.

The court ruled the arrest valid. “The facts show that the police acted cautiously and had proceeded to arrest the accused when it had a better view of the facts, that is, after the nature of the injuries allegedly suffered were established.”

Galea requested bail for his client. The prosecution objected to the request, citing the nature of the offences. 

“The accused, after hearing his father arguing with the victim, chose to cross the road, enter the block of the victim and go up to the washroom where the crime took place,” Inspector Farrugia explained.

The inspector told the court that a mother and her two-year-old son were at home inside the property when the assault took place. The mother had tried to keep the accused out, by blocking the door, but the man had burst through, injuring the woman and grievously injuring the child whom she had been carrying.

Buttigieg was further accused of causing voluntary damage to the victim’s vehicle.

“This arrest was not done capriciously… these people live across the road from each other,” the court was told.

The defence lawyer told the court that his client had been working in his garage and had heard an argument involving his father and the adult male victim. “What the inspector didn’t say was that the accused had heard the alleged victim threatening to stab his father with a knife.”

Buttigieg had “dropped everything that he was doing and went to protect his father,” the lawyer went on.

But after climbing the stairs to the washroom and finding the door open, the accused discovered that his father wasn’t there, Galea said.

The magistrate interjected, telling the lawyer that his client should have turned tail and left after seeing his father wasn’t there.

The lawyer pointed out to the court that the accused had gone to the police himself and had obeyed their instructions. He had not tried to speak to the alleged victim or attempted to tamper with evidence, he said.

The inspector informed the court that the older victim was still in hospital as a result of the attack. He is understood to have suffered serious facial injuries.

The prosecution also confirmed that the victim, too, was expected to be charged in connection with the incident.

The court, after noting the serious nature of the charges, the fact that the victims and the accused were neighbours, ordered the accused be remanded in custody at this stage.