Court finds man, 62, guilty of sexually harassing two 12-year-old boys

One of the boys had told the police he had heard the man asking the other boy to perform a sex act on him

File photo
File photo

A 62-year-old man has been sentenced to 13 months in prison, suspended for two years after he was found guilty of badgering two 12-year-old boys with unprompted requests for sexual favours and threatening one of the boy’s mother.

Nicholas Zammit was found guilty of causing the two children to fear that violence would be used against them, harassing them, asking them for sexual favours, speaking or behaving in a sexual manner in the presence of minors, as well as attacking and threatening them.

The boys had testified via videoconferencing, one of them telling the court that Zammit had made several outlandish claims in his bid to entice the child into having sex with him.

Inspector Roxanne Tabone, who investigated and prosecuted the case, told the court that the two boys had gone to the police, reporting that Zammit was sexually harassing them. One of the boys had told the police he had heard the man asking the other boy to perform a sex act on him.

The boy refused, and an argument broke out. When the other boy had attempted to intervene, the accused had sworn at him and grabbed him by the neck. The police were also told that the man had also made a pass at the young man's uncle and had threatened the young man's mother when she had warned Zammit to leave her son alone.

In addition to the information he gave to the Police, the boy also testified in Court, recounting how the accused would often sit down next to him on the pavement for a chat. Initially the conversations were unremarkable, but as the meetings continued, Zammit had started discussing sexual topics and would ask the boys to perform sex acts on each other.

Under cross-examination, the minor said that he would visit the defendant at around 7pm and would spend approximately an hour chatting with him, before going to join his friends. Zammit had started to speak about sexual topics within two weeks of their first meeting. The boy explained that he had first told his friend about the disquieting conversations, and after that had also informed his mother.

The boy said that he had been afraid of reporting Zammit to the Police because the man had warned him that if he told his parents "he would not see the next sunrise".

The second boy had also testified to having been badgered for sex by the defendant.

He said that at first he thought the man was joking but when the request was repeated he had sworn at the man, who then grabbed the boy by the neck and waved his fist at him.

The mother of one of the boys had also testified, as had his grandmother, telling the court that the boy had become withdrawn. When asked what was wrong he had said that the accused had said “nasty words” to him. When the mother had confronted Zammit, he had hit her on the back, the court was told.

When questioned by the police, the defendant had denied the minor’s claims, telling officers that he was unable to have sex because of his various health problems. He had repeated this explanation as well as his denial when he had testified before the court.

Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit was not convinced, however, ruling that the evidence showed that Zammit had used words of a sexual nature with the two minors and had asked them for sexual favours. The defence had tried to cast doubts about the honesty of the minors, observed the court, noting that although it was possible that they had ulterior motives, this possibility had not been borne out by the evidence.

Together with the suspended prison sentence, the court issued a two-year restraining order, prohibiting the accused from approaching or communicating with the two boys.

Lawyer Joe Mifsud was defence counsel. Lawyer Jacob Magri advised the victims.