Rabat man admits to threatening and harassing family members online

The man was handed a 21-month suspended sentence and a restraining order prohibiting him from contacting the victims

A 49-year-old unemployed man from Rabat has been fined and handed a 21-month suspended sentence after he admitted to having harassed and threatened his brother and niece.

The man appeared in court on Tuesday, accused of coercing and threatening the victims by means of a messenger app and attacking them.

Magistrate Doreen Clarke was told how the accused had been involved in a family court dispute, which had come to a head when he testified in favour of the victim’s ex-husband. The incidents which the charges dealt with had started to crop up after the testimony, said defence lawyer Daniel Attard, who also informed the court that his client would be pleading guilty. The accused confirmed his guilty plea when asked directly by the court.

In his submissions on punishment, Inspector Eman Hayman said that the man had chosen the wrong method to confront the parte civile, “both physically and with constant one-way electronic communications.”  Any punishment imposed by the court must serve to teach the accused a lesson, added the inspector.

For the defence, Attard submitted that his client lived in fear of his brother, who he claimed, would always carry a knife on his person.

The court found the man guilty on his own admission, imposing a €100 fine and 21-month prison sentence, which was suspended for three years. A restraining order, prohibiting him from attempting to make any form of contact with the victims for three years, was also imposed.

The court upheld a request to prohibit the publication of the names of the parties, in view of the fact that the man is a defence witness in an upcoming rape trial, involving the family.