Senglea youth handed suspended sentence for threating MP

The 17-year-old pleaded guilty to threatening Partit Demokratiku leader Marlene Farrugia  in Facebook post on Monday

Partit Demokratiku leader Marlene Farrugia
Partit Demokratiku leader Marlene Farrugia

A 17-year-old youth from Senglea has been found guilty of threatening Partit Demokratiku leader Marlene Farrugia, after pleading guilty to the charges in court this morning.

Charges were brought against the man, whose name cannot be published by order of the court, after he shared an article quoting Farrugia saying "I am like Daphne: I am not afraid of you", to which he added a message reading "beware the same might happen to you, cow dung" ("Ara jigrilekx bhala demel").​

Lawyer Joe Giglio, who appeared as Parte Civile for Farrugia, said that his client had received many threats over the past years and had not felt the need to act on them, but due to recent events, she felt action had to be taken this time.

Farrugia felt the need to act because people believe they can make this type of comment in a vacuum and stressed the need to reflect, and ask oneself whether such posts were having a negative effect of sending the message that "anything goes," said the lawyer.

He stressed that the Farrugia was not seeking a prison term, but wanted people to be careful of what they say and write, arguing that although people might not themselves believe in what they are writing, there was nothing stopping others from misinterpreting what was being said.

Giglio told the court that the accused had apologised to Farrugia after he was reported to the police and that he had not written any further posts aimed at the politician.

Franco Debono, one of the youth's defence team, said his client was sorry for what he had said, and that the comment had been removed. 

“We have a young man before us. And I believe the court should give a punishment that fits the crime, keeping in mind that he recognised his own wrongdoing, apologised, and pleaded guilty. I don’t think there should be an effective prison term imposed.”

Magistrate Doreen Clarke handed the youth an 18-month prison term suspended for three years, and also issued a three year protection order, preventing the youth from approaching Farrugia.

The Magistrate said that she appreciated that the youth had apologised, but stressed that it was important to stop and think before saying or writing something. “What we say and write does not only have an effect on you and the person you are addressing, but on everyone who can read it.”

Inspector Charlotte Curmi prosecuted. Lawyers Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri were defence counsel. Lawyer Joe Giglio appeared parte civile for Farrugia.

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