Man imprisoned after assaulting three men and injuring elderly woman in robbery

Accused tells court he does not recall crimes due to amnesia caused by his long history of substance abuse

File photo
File photo

A man from Birżebbuġa who assaulted and robbed three men, also injuring an elderly woman, has been sentenced to imprisonment for six years.

The defendant, 25-year-old Ramon Attard, told the court that he did not remember committing any of the crimes due to amnesia caused by his long history of substance abuse.

Police inspectors Joseph Mercieca and Lydon Zammit charged Attard with having assaulted and robbed a man in Ħamrun, another in Gwardmanġa and a third at Pietà in March 2022. He was also accused of breaching a suspended sentence and recidivism.

Magistrate Rachel Montebello had heard one of Attard’s victims testify to having been hit on the head with a rock and robbed by a masked man, wearing a hoodie, while he had been sheltering from the rain in Floriana, in March 2022.

Another man testified to having been lured by Attard to a dilapidated building in Floriana for a sexual encounter, only to be beaten up and robbed by the defendant, who took his cash and mobile phone, refusing to return the SIM card which held mementos of the victim’s deceased father. He told the court that he had nosebleeds for the five days which followed the assault.

A third victim told the court how he had been attacked with a bottle whilst waiting for his friend to visit him. The assault had been witnessed by a 63-year-old woman who lived in the same apartment block, who was also attacked by Attard and left with 8 stitches to her lip. Attard had shown no fear during the assault and had even given his name to the woman’s husband.

When Attard testified, he told the court that had no recollection of the three incidents. He insisted that this amnesia was the result of his use of synthetic drugs, adding that he had been abusing drugs and alcohol since 2013. He claimed to have been acting in self-defence and because he had been disgusted by the sex acts, he had witnessed at Floriana.

The court was not convinced by this, noting that Attard had also robbed his victims, besides having also filmed one of the beatings, and in the footage, he could be heard taunting and abusing the victim as he cried out in pain.

Magistrate Montebello noted that Attard had not made any progress in tackling his addictions despite having finished a rehabilitation program.

The court said this meant that, although Attard evidently tried to overcome his drug addiction and had the full support of his family in his efforts to do so, he was not fit to be reintegrated into society until he escaped the vicious circle of drug abuse in which he was trapped, once and for all.

The magistrate also pointed out that this case highlighted the risks associated with the use of synthetic drugs and the dangers it posed to its users and to society. Synthetic drugs posed new and complex problems that society had to be protected from. This protection could only be achieved in this case by the incarceration of the defendant, in tandem with treatment for drug addiction.

Attard was sentenced to imprisonment for six years, with the court also imposing a treatment order and a restraining order in favour of the victims, valid for three years.