Man charged with attacking and threatening police officers during 'disagreement' over reaction time

Jean Paul Micallef was involved in an argument with police after they were slow to respond to an earlier argument he was involved in

A man has been charged with attacking and threatening a group of police officers after what was termed “a disagreement” over their reaction to his report of having been assaulted.

Jean Paul Micallef, 38, from San Ġwann, appeared under arrest before Magistrate Monica Vella this morning, charged with resisting arrest, damaging property belonging to the police force, threatening a number of police officers in the course of their duties, disobeying legitimate police orders, as well as uttering threats and insults against seven police officers and breaching the peace.

The incident in question took place in Ta Xbiex last week.

Micallef, who public records show, is a director and shareholder of the company organising the Christmas Market in Ta Xbiex, is understood to have been involved in an argument with a third party close to the event’s venue, at around 3am on December 5th. After the confrontation was over, he had called the police to report the incident. When the officers arrived, some time later, Micallef then became involved in an argument with them, apparently due to dissatisfaction with the police’s response time.

His lawyer, Joe Giglio, asked the court for permission to approach the bench, together with the prosecuting police officer, where the case was discussed at length, out of public earshot.

When the arraignment resumed, the magistrate’s deputy registrar began asking Micallef for his details, but was stopped by Giglio, who pointed out that this was not necessary in this case, as the court was acting as a court of criminal judicature. A not guilty plea was then filed and bail was requested.

The bail request was not objected to by the prosecution in view of the fact that there were no civilian witnesses to testify and because the accused had a clean criminal record. He had also obeyed the conditions of his police bail, the court was told.

In his submissions on bail, Giglio pointed out that the law allowed the court to exempt persons charged with offences which fall under the ordinary jurisdiction of the Court of Magistrates as court of criminal judicature from having to provide bail security. 

The magistrate asked what had led to the aggression against the officers. Giglio replied that the accused, who he said, worked as a volunteer, had been attacked by third parties. “He was in a very agitated state and was not convinced by the police’s operations and an argument broke out. 

“There was an exchange of opinions on what best to do, whether to chase after the alleged assailants…there was a disagreement on how best to move forward,” said the lawyer.

The court released Micallef from arrest, imposing no financial deposits or guarantees as security, explaining to the accused that he was not to approach the officers in question. When instructed to sign a bail book at the Sliema police station, Micallef said he was afraid of going there. His lawyer suggested another police station, closer to the man’s place of residence.

Inspector Eman Hayman is prosecuting.