'Victim' admits he lied about being beaten by police

The 30-year-old man alleged that police beat him after he was caught smoking indoors in Paceville 

A 30-year-old man received a suspended jail term after he admitted to making up his allegations of being beaten up by police for smoking inside a bar.

The man, Etienne Caruana, from Iklin, was arraigned before Magistrate Ian Farrugia this afternoon, charged with lying under oath, falsely accusing the police of a crime, assaulting police officers, refusing to give his details to a police officer, disobeying the legitimate orders of a police officer, breaching the peace and smoking inside an entertainment establishment.

A letter from Caruana’s mother to Commissioner of Police Michael Cassar had led to the investigation and Caruana’s subsequent conviction. In the letter, the mother had claimed that her son had been savagely beaten by police officers in Paceville on New Year’s Day.

It said that the man had been approached by a policeman outside a Paceville bar at around 5am on 1 January. The officer demanded his particulars because he was smoking, she said. The man was then alleged to have been bundled into a van and beaten up by police officers, suffering lacerations to his head, bruising to his ribs and muscular injuries, before being dumped on to the street.

The mother alleged that she had spoken to witnesses who confirmed that many others were smoking at the time but the officer “picked on him because he was the worse for drink, the smallest and to make an example of him.”

However, a magisterial inquiry carried out by Magistrate Gabriella Vella established that it had been Caruana who had attacked the police on the day in question and that he had lied about the incident to his mother and was then forced to sustain this lie before the inquiring magistrate.

Caruana admitted the charges and was handed a two-year custodial sentence suspended for four years, as well as being fined €1,200. The court also imposed a five-year general interdiction on the man. 

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