Passenger assaults bus driver after three-hour wait at Valletta terminus

A frustrated commuter who allegedly attempted to assault a bus driver after a lengthy delay has been remanded in custody

A commuter frustrated by a three-hour wait for a bus has been remanded in custody after smashing a glass pane and attempting to assault a bus driver at the Valletta Bus Terminus yesterday.

29-year-old Andre Calleja from Bormla was arraigned before Magistrate Elaine Rizzo on Wednesday, accused of threatening two police officers in the line of duty, violently resisting them and causing them to suffer slight injuries.

Calleja was also charged with damaging a glass panel forming part of a bus shelter, disobeying a public servant’s legitimate orders, attacking the officers and breaching the peace.

The court was told that when the bus he had been waiting for arrived three hours late, Calleja had attempted to assault the driver, breaking a pane of glass in the process. Police officers from the Rapid Intervention Unit soon arrived at the scene and were also attacked by the defendant.

Calleja pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Legal Procurator Peter Paul Zammit, representing the defendant, made a request for bail.

The request was objected to by Inspector Daryl Borg, who is prosecuting together with inspector Gabriel Micallef, on the grounds that civilian witnesses, including a bus driver who was about to be assaulted by the defendant, were yet to testify.

“I am informed that he spent three hours in the sun waiting for a bus, and when he complained about it, he ended up in an argument with the dispatchers,” Zammit told the court.

The defendant’s problems were rooted in mental illness, for which he was currently being treated, the legal procurator submitted.  “There were shortcomings on the part of both parties, which ended up with the police being called,” he said.

Magistrate Rizzo turned down the man’s bail request and remanded him in custody.