Prison inmate who challenged wardens to a fight has sentence reduced

Appeals’ court reduced prison inmate’s jail term by six months after ruling that accused is reforming

A prison inmate who threatened a police officer to fight him so “he could injure him,” has had his jail term reduced by six months after the court ruled that he seems to have reformed.

On 16 June 2006, the inmate, 39-year-old Jean Claude Cassar, got into an argument with Constable Cedric Mifsud and Sargeant Wistin Micallef, during which he challenged them to a fight and threatened them that he would hurt them.

The case saw a criminal court find him guilty of assaulting and threatening two police officials, injuring police constable Mifsud, of disobeying police orders, of swearing, of breaching public peace, and of relapsing. In its sentence in October 2012, the court had extended Cassar’s jail term by nine months.

In his appeal, Cassar argued that he had already paid for the charges by being put in solitary confinement for 24 hours, and that therefore he could not be punished twice for the same offence.

Moreover, he held that that the First Court had wrongly based its evidence on prison records, claiming that for these to be admissible as evidence, a written report must be first submitted before the prisons’ disciplinary board.

He also held that the punishment was excessive, and insisted that the appeals’ court should take into account the delay in proceedings.

Presided by Mr Justice Antonio Mizzi, the Appeas’ court said that the accused had spent 24 hours in solitary confinement for a separate incident, and blamed the delay in proceedings on the accused’s failure to attend court proceedings.

However, the court noted that the man was working and returning to prison every day, and that is slowly reforming and learning from his mistakes.

While insisting that the first court’s sentence was not excessive, the court nevertheless reduced the nine month jail term to three months due to Cassar’s good behaviour, arguing that this is the last chance for him to start a new life.

Inspector Jurgen Vella prosecuted.