Man cleared of breaching protection order after verbally abusing his former partner

Footage handed over by alleged victim did not prove the case beyond reasonable doubt, court says

File photo
File photo

A 30-year-old man from Birżebbuġa was cleared of breaching a protection order and breaching his bail conditions after allegedly verbally abusing his ex-girlfriend.

Kyle Lautier was found not guilty by Magistrate Lara Lanfranco of insulting the woman, breaching the peace, disobeying his court-imposed protection order and bail conditions.

The woman had filed a report at the Domestic Violence Unit in July 2021, alleging that Lautier had approached her earlier that day while she had been shopping with her son in Birżebbuġa.

The son had alerted his mother to the man’s presence, observing them from a corner, as they had been leaving a shop. After they sat down in her car, the woman had filmed Lautier on her mobile phone. She told the police that while driving home, she had also seen him driving his father’s car near the church in Birżebbuġa.

She claimed that Lautier had shouted abuse at her while she was driving near Pretty Bay and that she had driven on. He did not appear again, said the woman.

Lautier had exercised his right to silence, both when questioned by the police as well as in court.

The prosecution had exhibited a pen drive handed to it by the woman, containing footage shot in three different places. But the court noted that it also showed that the woman had driven around a block twice for no apparent reason. Although a male voice could be heard uttering an insult on the recording, the person behind the voice was not seen on the footage.

At no time had the woman said she had seen the defendant, noted the court, having only said that she had heard his voice and recognised it.

Although there was no doubt that the voice heard on the recording was male, the court expressed reservations about the case, ruling that the evidence did not prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.

Lautier was acquitted of all charges.

Lawyer Ezekiel Psaila was defence counsel.