Man who organised illegal lottery jailed for 21 months

The man stole cash from an elderly man while trying to sell him illegal lottery tickets 

A man who organised an illegal lottery and stole cash from a residence has been jailed.

37-year-old Chris Farrugia from Zabbar had been arraigned last week by inspectors Chantelle Casha and Roderick Attard on charges of organising an illegal lottery, stealing cash from a residence and handling stolen goods. 

Farrugia had stolen the cash from an elderly man whose door he had knocked on while trying to sell him lottery tickets.

He was not assisted by a lawyer during his arraignment on Wednesday and had appeared confused, leading to his guilty plea being rejected by that court.

However, although a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf, Farrugia insisted on changing his plea. When his case was called today, Magistrate Ian Farrugia heard the man confirm his guilty plea.

The court took into consideration the man’s early guilty plea, although it pointed out that this did not give an automatic right to a reduction in punishment. “At the end of the day, the court must apply and inflict a punishment or sanction which it feels would be the most ideal for the circumstances of the case,” said the magistrate.

“Without hesitation, the court declares the crimes imputed to the accused are serious. It is also worrying to see that the accused did what he did during the operative period of two suspended sentences which he had received on 10 January 2018.”

The defence’s argument was that the accused needed help as he had no direction in his life, noted the court. The magistrate said that there was nothing wrong with this submission, but added that from now on it was up to the accused to help himself and choose to change his life.

“If the accused asks for help, this should be given to him,” said the court, but added that “this court makes it clear that it also has an obligation to protect society.”

Farrugia was handed an 18 month sentence, together with a €1,000 fine for the crimes, to which were added three months from his two suspended sentences, bringing the total up to 21 months.

The accused’s lawyer gave notice of appeal. 

Inspectors Chantelle Casha and Roderick Attard prosecuted. Lawyer Dustin Camilleri was legal aid to Farrugia.

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