Village feasts are for religion, not bacchanalia, court told

Reuben Boyce, 46, was accused of having attacked and slightly injured a police constable, violently resisted arrest, disobeyed legitimate police orders as well as having been drunk in public, breaching the peace and relapsing

Village feasts are religious occasions and not simply opportunities to get drunk, a police inspector has told a court as she arraigned an off-duty security guard who allegedly punched a policeman in the face after the Zurrieq feast.

Reuben Boyce, 46, from Zurrieq appeared before magistrate Aaron Bugeja, on charges relating to an incident which occurred at 3am this morning in St. Paul Street, Safi. Boyce is accused of having attacked and slightly injured a police constable, violently resisted arrest, disobeyed legitimate police orders. He was also charged with having been drunk in public, breaching the peace and relapsing.

Boyce’s lawyer Dustin Camilleri entered a plea of not guilty. Bail was requested.

The prosecution objected to bail. Releasing people who attack officers would be counterproductive said the inspector. “The police are there to keep order and not to be insulted, threatened or attacked. It’s not the way forward”

Camilleri argued that the man should be released on bail because he is presumed innocent, was a family man and main breadwinner and would certainly not want to abscond or get into further trouble. “This was an isolated incident, He is not a habitual criminal,” said the lawyer.

Inspectors Josric Mifsud and Charlotte Curmi contended that the mentality that during the village feast one can drink and do what one wants had to be tackled. “We must show that the feast period is not a bacchanalian period, but a religious occasion. The message is not that we can spend a week doing what we want and drinking ourselves silly.”

The defence warned that the court could not simply make an example of someone who was presumed innocent.

Bail was granted against a deposit of €500 and personal guarantee of €5500. Boyce was banned from attending feasts until the case is decided. A protection order was issued in favour of the injured officer.

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