San Gwann man charged with assaulting policemen

The court was also told that the results of a subsequent breathalyzer test had come back negative for intoxication.

A San Gwann man has been released on bail this morning after he appeared in court, charged with assaulting police officers yesterday afternoon.

Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras heard police Inspector Sergio Pisani explain how 41-year-old Joseph Camilleri had made an offensive gesture to a group of police officers in San Gwann as he drove past them.

As he had ignored instructions from the officers to pull over, his car was followed. When the accused arrived outside his home, the officers had approached him.

Inspector Pisani said that Camilleri had tried to push past them saying “get out of my way because I’ve had a couple of beers,” and that he wanted to smoke. The officers asked him to submit to a breathalyzer test but he had refused and ended up in a struggle with the officers.

The court was also told that the results of a subsequent breathalyzer test had come back negative for intoxication.

Camilleri pleaded not guilty to charges of insulting police officers, disobeying police orders, violently resisting arrest, causing slight injuries to one officer, uttering obscenities in public and breaching the peace.

Inspector Pisani objected to the accused’s request for bail, asking the court to consider that the safety of public officers was a factor to be taken into consideration together with public safety in this decision. He presented the court with a note to this effect from the Commissioner of Police.

The accused was untrustworthy, said the inspector, adding that the offence was grave in nature and that he had attempted to intimidate police officers even whilst under arrest.

Defence lawyer Giannella De Marco however, pointed out that he had not been convicted of any offence against the safety of public officers in the past. His most recent conviction had been for a 1992 case of involuntary homicide in a traffic accident for which he was fined and suspended from driving, she said.

In addition to this the defence argued that, as the witnesses were all police officers, there was no risk of tampering with evidence. “There was no intent to cause injury. We have a person who wanted to smoke and was not allowed to. There was no grave injury, only a slight shoulder injury.”

The court granted Camilleri bail against a deposit of €500 and a personal guarantee of €5000, on condition that he does not approach any prosecution witnesses, signs a bail book three times a week and observe a curfew.