Briton accused of assaulting police officer granted bail

Accused "jumped on the bonnet of police car" in attempt to escape arrest

Paul Alan Sneddon, an unemployed British man residing in Malta who was arrested for assaulting a police inspector last Monday has been granted bail.

The accused shook his head vigorously on several occasions while Inspector Godwin Scerri took to the witness stand before Magistrate Audrey Demicoli today. The inspector told the court how, while he was on duty directing traffic at the summer carnival in Qawra on the 17th August, the accused had approached him requesting assistance in a dispute between the accused and a neighbour. The inspector testified that he could not leave his post, as the other officer posted with him was sorting out a traffic problem at the time, and so directed Mr. Sneddon to “wait 10 to 15 minutes, as a police car was due there shortly”.

At this point the accused who, according to the inspector, was “very aggressive, arrogant and sarcastic” proceeded to swear at the officer, who arrested him on the spot.

The accused is then alleged to have given false details to the police, – something immediately evident to the officers as the ID card number provided ended with a ‘T’. The inspector claimed that Mr. Sneddon had calmed down somewhat by then and had apologised for swearing, whilst they were waiting for the police car, but he “could not release him until he could be sure that he had his correct particulars”.

You swore on the cross? Accused tells Police Sergeant after testimony

When the police car arrived, the witnesses described to the court how the accused allegedly attempted to escape the crowded area  by jumping on to the bonnet of the police car.

A scuffle ensued, with the accused “kicking, punching and scratching” the officers. “As he was on the ground, he could not escape,” said the inspector, “so he tried to inflict injury”. The court was shown medical certification of the injuries suffered by the policemen.  Police Sergeant Ivan Mifsud, who was struck in the groin and had his radio damaged by the accused, also testified that Sneddon jumped on the bonnet, shouted abuse and made a scene.

When asked, by cross-examining lawyer Cedric Mifsud, whether a headlock was an acceptable method of restraining the accused, the sergeant stated that there were “no specific rules on how to subdue suspects”.

As Sgt. Mifsud left the dock and walked past the accused, Sneddon sarcastically asked the policeman “you swore on the cross?”, earning him a stern rebuke by the magistrate.

The court granted Mr. Sneddon bail against a €350 deposit and a €2000 personal guarantee, amongst other conditions.

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