Man handed fine, suspended sentence for drunken assault on police

A man has been given six-month sentence suspended for one year and ordered to pay a €1,000 fine after pleading guilty to using force against an officer

The accused was arrested after he swung a punch at a policeman and missed
The accused was arrested after he swung a punch at a policeman and missed

A Monday night out drinking in Paceville has earned a young Czech lout a criminal conviction and a fine after he took a swing at a police officer.

23-year-old Filip Strnad from the Czech Republic appeared in the dock before magistrate Charmaine Galea this morning, accused of threatening and causing bodily harm to a police officer acting in the line of duty. The man, whose occupation and purpose of stay in Malta did not emerge during the sitting, was also charged with disobeying lawful police orders, attempting to use force against an officer and being drunk and incapable of taking care of himself in public.

The accused initially refused the court's offer to appoint a lawyer to assist him, despite being informed that the charges he faced were punishable with a fine of €800 to €5,000 and up to nine months in prison, saying “I hope that I will not be needing a lawyer.”

But the rowdy drinker changed his tune after being informed that the lawyer would be paid for by the State.

Inspector Matthew Spagnol told the court that this morning at around 12:10am, police had gone to investigate complaints about a disturbance outside Havana. He said that the accused was found shoving people, whilst swearing and insulting them. The accused had bruises on his face when he was found, the policeman hastened to add.

Strnad, who had mocked police officers who intervened to stop him, was arrested after he swung a punch at a policeman and missed. The accused smelled strongly of alcohol, said the inspector.

The magistrate motioned the prosecution and defence to approach the bench to discuss the case, after which lawyer Christopher Chircop, who was appointed as legal aid to the accused, entered a guilty plea.

The court handed Strnad a six months prison sentence, suspended for one year, together with a fine of €1,000, payable over a period of 20 months.

The man said he would pay the sum before the period was up, explaining that his plan was to stay in Malta until the summer. The prosecution asked to retain the man's passport as a guarantee that he would pay the fine. The court acceded to the request, explaining to the accused that he would have to pay the fine before trying to go abroad.

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