Elderly man given suspended sentence for festa stabbing incident

Magistrate Francesco Depasquale stressed that feasts should be an occasion for unity not creating divisions 

The stabbing incident took place on Sunday morning during the feast march in Birżebbuġa
The stabbing incident took place on Sunday morning during the feast march in Birżebbuġa

A man from Birżebbuġa was handed a one-year prison sentence suspended for two years after he admitted to stabbing another man during the Birżebbuġa feast on Sunday. 

The court heard how Carmelo Bonnici, 68, stabbed the man after he was involved in an argument with his son, which had escalated. 

Bonnici was charged with attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm on Saviour Spiteri, causing light injuries to a second individual, Kristen Carabott, disregarding rules prohibiting him from carrying a pointed object which he could not prove he was carrying for a legitimate purpose. He was also accused of breaching the peace, and faced a possible maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.  

Lawyer Franco Debono, appearing for the accused, noted that his client had cooperated with police and had instantly apologised to his victim. He said that while Bonnici was accused of attempting to inflict grievously bodily harm, Spiteri had only sustained minor injuries. 

He submitted a guilty plea, with Debono arguing that this, as well as the fact that he had cooperated and apologised, should be taken into account by the court.

The prosecution confirmed that Bonnici had cooperated and apologised to his victim.  

The court said that it was disappointed to see village feasts ending in fights and the creation of divisions between people, stressing that such activities should serve to unite people.

“Everyone must appreciate the divisions do nobody any good, and everyone must learn that they should respect other people’s points of view or allegiances, because this is a right everyone has,” the magistrate said. 

The court found Bonnici guilty of the accusations against him, and after considering the fact that he had apologised and cooperated with the police, sentenced him to a year in prison, suspended for two years, against a personal guarantee of €2,000.

He was ordered not to approach or contact Carabott and Spiteri for a period of one year.

Franco Debono, Amadeus Cachia and Yanika Vidal appeared for Bonnici, while police Inspectors Melvyn Camilleri and Roderick Attard prosecuted.

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