Judge confirms prison sentence handed to former carer who punched SVPR patient, 78, in the face

A prison sentence, handed to a former carer for punching and seriously injuring an elderly man who was under his care, was emphatically confirmed by an appeals court on Wednesday

A five-year prison sentence, handed to a former carer at a care home in 2020 for punching and seriously injuring an elderly man who was under his care, has been emphatically confirmed in its entirety by an appeals court.

Charlton Spiteri, today aged 30, had been found guilty of having grievously injured a 78-year-old resident at the St Vincent De Paul residence in August 2018, as well as of attacking the resident and causing him to suffer physical or mental distress. The elderly man had subsequently died of severe pneumonia, just two and a half months after the assault.

In June 2020 Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech sentenced Spiteri to imprisonment for five years, describing his crimes as "shocking, inhumane, cruel and such that they trample on human dignity," after observing that his explanation -  he had told the police that the patient’s injuries could have been caused accidentally when Spiteri stopped the elderly man from sliding off his bed, suggesting that he might also have hit the bed's side railing - was not credible, in the light of testimony from several witnesses. “Few are the words that can sufficiently express the disgrace and disgust that violence, inflicted on a 78-year old man by the person entrusted with his care, evokes.”

Spiteri had filed an appeal, arguing amongst other things, that a court medico-legal expert’s finding had left room for doubt as to whether the victim’s injuries had been caused by a fist or the railing.

But in a judgement handed down earlier this week, the Court of Criminal Appeal, presided by Mr. Justice Neville Camilleri, confirmed Magistrate Frendo Dimech’s judgement in its entirety.  

The judge pointed out that the expert in question had also described the man’s injuries as suspicious, and that witnesses had confirmed  that the bed’s railing was up, meaning that there was no risk of the patient sliding off. 

The court also made reference to the account given to the police by the victim himself, who despite being unable to speak as a result of a stroke, had burst into tears whenever he heard the appellant’s name.

“Therefore, having taken into consideration the full picture of the evidence, this court believes that the appellant did, in truth, raise his hand to the parte civile. Consequently, in the opinion of this Court, he had the necessary criminal intent to carry out this action.”

Quoting the magistrate’s unequivocal and passionate condemnation of Spiteri’s actions verbatim, the judge said he was also endorsing them and making them his own.