Commotion in court as handbag thief tries to escape

The man tried to escape from the courtroom when the magistrate momentarily retired to her chambers 

The man tried to escape from the courtroom as the magistrate temporarily retired to her chambers
The man tried to escape from the courtroom as the magistrate temporarily retired to her chambers

A handbag-snatching thief had to be restrained in court after trying to escape during a sitting this afternoon. He had pleaded guilty to the theft in which a woman was slightly injured.

44-year-old Mario Zammit of Żabbar, appeared in the dock before magistrate Rachel Montebello earlier today after targeting a young woman in Triq Il-Kunvent, Żabbar,, late at night on 14 December. Żammit placed a finger to the victim’s throat to stop her from screaming, but the woman had put up a fight, before being slightly injured and having her handbag stolen.

Inspectors Fabian Fleri, Lydon Zammit and Joanna Piscopo charged the man with theft, aggravated by violence, causing slight injury and relapsing.

Żammit, who told the court that he was unemployed, entered a guilty plea.

But while the magistrate retired to her chambers for five minutes to give him some time to reconsider, the man had tried to escape from the court and had to be restrained by police officers.

When the case reconvened, legal aid lawyer Yanika Bugeja formally informed the court that the accused had refused her assistance and had not consulted with her before admitting to the charges. “Don’t appear for me,” he had said, but later told the court that he wished the lawyer to continue defending him.

The prosecution and defence submissions in this case cannot be reported due to court-imposed restrictions.

Żammit confirmed his guilty plea and was sentenced to probation for three years.

“Mr. Żammit you must not commit a crime or break the law in the next three years or you will be punished for today’s crimes as well,” warned the magistrate.

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