Man jailed for injuring police officers, as court says violence towards police inexcusable

The man was accused of resisting arrest, disobeying and attacking police officers • The court reemphasised the 'zero tolerance' towards violence against police 

A 33-year-old man from Niger was jailed for a year and fined €4,000 after he was found guilty of having disobeyed police orders, resisted arrest and injured two police officers. 

Abubakar Ibrahim Jabril had been accused of attacking the police officers on 5 April, 2016, at the Tiger Bar in Marsa, when police from the immigration division had stopped him because he resembled somebody they had been searching for.

The police had tried to arrest him, but he resisted, injuring them and biting one of them.

Jabril said he had resisted arrest because his hair had been pulled, and maintained he had unintentionally bitten one of the officers because the officer’s hand was thrust into his mouth.

He had also been accused of threatening the officers, insulting them, slightly injuring one of them and disturbing the public peace, however, due to the fact that the prosecution had failed to arraign Jabril within the two-year period prescribed by law, the court was unable to find him guilty of these charges.

After the alleged crimes were committed, Jabril had been wanted for arraignment, but, due to a communication mishap, the police had not realised that he was in prison at the time, serving a sentence on an unrelated case. Noting this, the court said such a short-coming was "very serious".

The court emphasised the "zero tolerance" towards violence against police.

In its judgement, the court, presided by Magistrate Joseph Mifsud, said that it was reiterating that the police had to be protected while undertaking their duties.

"Nobody can be excused, for whatever reason, of threatening the police of injuring them in some way," the court said.

"A police order should be obeyed immediately, and the police should be respected always and everywhere," it emphasised, "The court is noting that the instances of police order disobedience - and, worse still, physical attacks, including those resulting in serious injury - are increasing in our society."

The court underscored that it didn't want members of the Police Corps to be demoralised because of this, since they don't always find the support they need while doing their work, and sometimes are judged by society for doing their duty.

There were also times when people complained, using "pseudo-legal articles" against legitimate orders of the police, the court said.

"The court makes it clear that anyone who abuses his power, including those in uniform, have to answer for their actions," it stressed.

“But police officers and their families are not excluded from having their rights protected, including as provided by the European Convention for Human Rights," the court added.