Updated | Man admits to Gozo ferry bomb hoax

The phone call brought all Gozo ferry services to a halt for around three hours last Tuesday

A man is due to be sentenced, after he was arraigned in court today and admitted to calling in a hoax bomb threat which brought all Gozo ferry services to a halt last Tuesday. 

His phone call led to all Gozo ferry services being suspended for around three hours, as members of the army's bomb disposal unit searched ferries and cars waiting to board. No explosive devices were found. 

Superintendent Antonello Grech and Inspector Omar Zammit charged Ronald Mallia, 30 from Mosta, with making a false report to police, causing Gozo Channel employees to fear violence, misuse of communications equipment and networks.

Mallia pleaded guilty.

“His phonecall caused chaos,” a lawyer for the ferry company said. “The Economy of Gozo stopped. People missed their flights, their chemo appointments.” There was also a massive knock on effects on ferry operations, he said, asking for a deterrent to be made in this case. Such behaviour could not be tolerated, argued the lawyer.

Mallia’s defence lawyer Clint Tabone said the man had not thought his actions through. “He is at the crossroads of criminality, if he is jailed, he would be placed at risk of adopting a life of crime,” said the lawyer, arguing that there was an opportunity for the man to be saved. In similar cases, offenders had been fined and given community service orders, pointed out the defence.

Mallia was granted bail pending a pre-sentencing report against a €20,000 personal guarantee, with his parents as third party guarantors.

He is to observe a curfew and sign a bail book twice weekly until his sentence is handed down.

Lawyers Paul Borg and Clint Tabone appeared for the accused.

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