Fined €2,000 for holding police inspector against his will

Fined €2,000 after he was found guilty of holding a police inspector against his will, reckless driving and slightly injuring two police officers in 2008

A man has been fined €2,000 after he was found guilty of some of various charges police officers accused him of when they tried to arriest him in 2008 on suspcision of a robbery in Gozo.

Inspector Joseph Mercieca said that Psaila was intercepted in his red Peugeot car in Msida on 15 September 2008. Psaila informed him he was under arrest over suspicion of involvement in the robbery, entered Psaila’s car and ordered him to drive to the police headquarters in Floriana, while another officer, drove behind.

However, at the Sai Maison hill, Psaila diverted the car towards the direction of Hamrun, accelerating upon entering the town, where he drove to his mother’s house on Annunciation Street. When nobody answered the door at his mother’s house, he entered his neighbour’s residence.

The police officer insisted with him that he was under arrest, and that Psaila said he wanted to speak to his brother, and confirmed that he had no arrest warrant on him.

On his part, Psaila said he was never served with an arrest warrant despite the police officer entering his car and saying he was under arrest.

Psaila also said that he was asked by the officer where he would leave his car, and added that the officer did not say anything when he said he would leave the car at his mother’s house.

Psaila denied driving at speed or that he had damaged the constables’ uniforms or caused them any harm. He instead charged the officers with maltreating him when they were in Hamrun.

The court however declared that the officer’s order had been a legitimate one, and that Psaila had disobeyed it when he drove to Hamrun.

But it added that the arrest, as carried out by the police, “was not a straightforward matter” given that, as laid down in the Criminal Code, the accused should have been taken to the nearest police station apart from having been carried out without an arrest warrant “which is indispensable for a legitimate arrest”.

The court specified that the accusation that the officer was held against his will, was valid when Psaila drove off in the direction of Hamrun. Magistrate Antonio Micallef Trigona found him guilty of disobeying police orders and holding the inspector against his will.

Fabio Psaila is also accused of planning a failed heist on HSBC’s Qormi vault in 2010, but the case is stil pending before the courts. He denies the charges.