Woman charged over offensive Facebook posts about magistrate, granted bail pending sentence

Woman who told magistrate to ‘suck my dick’ pleads guilty and is granted bail

File photo
File photo

A woman who uploaded Facebook posts inviting a magistrate who had fined her €50 to “suck my dick” has been released on bail pending a pre-sentencing report.

She also dared the magistrate to “file another warrant” against her and saying she hoped he choked and “burned in hell.”

The woman was released on bail after pleading guilty to related charges.

Inspector Clayton Camilleri arraigned Zebbug resident Charlene Gatt, 36, before magistrate Noel Bartolo on Friday afternoon, accusing her of insulting or threatening a public servant in March, carrying a knife in public without a licence, and sending insults and threats using electronic communications equipment.

Gatt was also accused of reviling or threatening a magistrate during a court sitting and breaching three sets of bail conditions, as well as a suspended sentence handed down in February. She was further accused of being a recidivist.

Inspector Bartolo explained that the accused had written a number of threatening Facebook comments with regards to a sitting magistrate. The magistrate had not insisted on pressing charges at first but the woman had persisted in making more posts about the magistrate as well as police officers.

Exhibiting screenshots of the comments, together with a kitchen knife found in her handbag at the time of her arrest, the prosecution requested a protection order and a restraining order in favour of the magistrate in question, for the duration of criminal proceedings against Gatt.

After a request by lawyer Marion Camilleri, representing Gatt together with lawyer Franco Debono, the court permitted the defence and prosecution officials to approach the bench, where the case was discussed privately.

After a few minutes the defence entered a guilty plea, together with a declaration that the accused knew the magistrate in question to be a serious person of integrity and was withdrawing all her social media posts, and formally apologised for her actions.

Defence lawyer Franco Debono requested a pre-sentencing report, which was upheld after the prosecution did not object. A probation officer was appointed by the court to draw up the pre-sentencing report.

The court imposed a ban on the publication of the name of the magistrate insulted by the woman, in view of a joint request by both prosecution and defence.

The prosecution did not object to the woman’s request for bail, in view of her guilty plea.

Magistrate Noel Bartolo granted the woman bail, ordering her to sign a bail book twice a week. Her release from arrest was secured by a personal guarantee of €1,000.

The court also ordered her to delete the posts by Monday.