Ignoring phone call from the police 'not a crime', court holds

'A report to the ministry is not a threat and a refusal to come to the police station is not a crime,' defence argues

File photo.
File photo.

A 72-year old man who was charged with insulting and threatening the police after he ignored a phone call ordering him to go to the police station, has walked free this morning after a court declared the charges to be baseless.

In December 2015, police in Sliema had received a report from two women, a Brazilian and a German, who claimed that a Maltese man had been verbally aggressive and racist towards them during an argument over their use of the disabled toilets at the McDonald’s restaurant in Sliema.

The argument is thought to have been ignited by the man's objection to the fact that one of the women had used the disabled cubicle to change her baby's nappy.

The man, Carmelo Dimech, had also apparently decided that the women were Libyan and had allegedly told them to "go back there."

This unfortunate, if rather mundane incident was only tangentially linked the man's criminal charges however. 

An affidavit was filed with Dimech's charges by police Sergeant Sandro Mangion. In it, Mangion claims that when he had called the accused to verify the allegations, the accused had started shouting at the officer over the phone. Mangion ordered the man to report at the police station the next day, December 30, at 8am, but Dimech refused and said he would report the officer to the “ministry”.

Defence lawyer Stefano Filletti observed that from the charges it appeared that the McDonald’s incident was somehow forgotten and the accused was instead having the book thrown at him for declining an irregular summons.

“A report to the ministry is not a threat and a refusal to come to the police station is not a crime,” the defence submitted.

Magistrate Josette Demicoli upheld the defence's arguments and Dimech was acquitted.