Street performer fined €850 and given suspended sentence for spitting at police

Police were responding to nuisance complaints, when the street performer in Valletta ignored and later spat at police officers

A street performer in Valletta who ignored and then spat at police officers responding to nuisance complaints has been fined €850 and handed a suspended sentence.

43 year-old Pablo Enrique from Argentina appeared before magistrate Ian Farrugia, accused of violently resisting two police officers, insulting and threatening them while they were carrying out their official duties, as well as disobeying their legitimate orders and breaching the peace. He was also accused of making a public nuisance of himself as a street artist, by making excessive noise.

Police Inspector Gabriel Micallef, prosecuting together with Inspector Jeffrey Rizzo told the court that the Valletta police station would receive complaints whenever he performed, in particular about his amplifier’s scratchy background noise.

Officers had approached Enrique three times, due to reports that he was annoying and disturbing residents and office workers. But instead of complying with the police, Enrique insulted the officers. 

After he ignored a police sergeant’s warnings and carried on singing, officers moved in to arrest him. Enrique had violently resisted arrest, leading the police to hold him down, where he had spat in the face of the police sergeant doing so.

Enrique pleaded guilty to the charges. Lawyer Mario Caruana, assisting the man as legal aid counsel, described the incident as an unfortunate misunderstanding caused by the language barrier, telling the court that his client had not intended to spit in the officer’s direction and was sorry for having done so.

The court, in view of the man’s guilty plea and after hearing submissions on punishment, sentenced Enrique to probation for two years and ordered him to pay a fine of €850.