No bail for 17-year-old drug addict accused of threatening mother

Youth threatens mothers with knife and sends her torrent of abusive messages

Cour (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Cour (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

A 17-year-old youth has been remanded in custody after being accused of threatening his mother while holding a knife and sending her a torrent of threatening and abusive messages.

Inspector Audrey Micallef charged the defendant, whose name is subject to a reporting ban, with causing his mother to fear he would use violence against her using a knife, insulting and threatening her, sending her insults and threats through electronic means and misuse of electronic telecommunications equipment.

The inspector told duty magistrate Noel Bartolo how on January 9, the defendant’s mother had filed a police report, stating that her son had been using illegal substances for three years, despite her repeated warnings.

She had held herself back from filing a police report until a disturbing incident which had happened a few days before Christmas. The woman told the police that she had been minding her own business at home, when she turned around to find her son holding a knife. He told her “you thought today was going to be the last day of your life today, right?”

The son had also sent his mother a series of messages containing insults and threats to her life.

Inspector Micallef added that when the police had phoned him up and asked him to go to the police station for questioning, he had replied that if they wanted to talk to him, they could come and get him themselves. Suspecting that his mother had gone to the police, he then sent her several further messages containing insults and threats.

Lawyer Martina Herrera was appointed legal aid counsel to assist the defendant. A not guilty plea was filed by the lawyer, who proceeded to request bail.

That request was objected to by the prosecution due to the serious nature of the charges and the fear of further crimes being committed due to the repeated nature of the defendant’s actions.

Herrera told the court that the defendant had a drug problem, but had sought help from Caritas. “It [drug use] has reduced a lot since I started working,” chipped in the defendant, who said he now lived with his father.

But lawyers Mario Buttigieg and Helga Buttigieg Debono, appearing as parte civile for the mother, told the court that while it is true that he had started rehab at Caritas, he had abandoned the program after just two or three days.

The parte civile lawyers explained that they intended to request a treatment order be imposed, but were objecting to bail, “at least until the victim testifies.”

Magistrate Barolo noted that the 17-year-old’s problems with substance abuse were still present and that the defendant was open to assistance in this regard.

The court, however, denied the request for bail, due to the risk of the defendant tampering with evidence as well as because he could not provide the necessary guarantees at this stage.

As the defendant is a minor, the court suggested he be held at the YORS. The prosecution also requested that he be issued a treatment order for his drug problem. Defence concurred.