Homeless Serbian man smashed shop front to be sent back home, court hears

Sources close to the case said the man would likely be repatriated at the earliest opportunity

The man smashed a shop's glass window in the hope that he would be deported
The man smashed a shop's glass window in the hope that he would be deported

A court has heard how a homeless 20-year-old Serbian man smashed a shop’s glass door in a bid to be sent back to Serbia.

Modrag Petrovic was arraigned under arrest before magistrate Rachel Montebello this morning, accused of damaging a sliding door in St. Paul’s Bay during the night of 8 January. The cost of repairing the damage was established at €472.

Prosecuting inspector Spiridione Zammit explained to the court that, at the time of his arrest, the man had said he had drunk beer but was not drunk. “He did this just to be sent back to his country. He was homeless and lived on the street. He wishes to be sent back.”

Petrovic said he had no friends who could lend him money.

Legal aid counsel Charmaine Cherret said her client was “very sorry.” “He is in a tight situation without relatives or friends in Malta,” said the lawyer. 

The court replied that this was clearly not the way to go about things, noting that having no means to maintain oneself is a crime in itself and the damage was completely unwarranted.

A guilty plea was entered.

In submissions on punishment, Cherret said the man had fully cooperated with the police and had admitted and explained the motive behind his act. “He did not waste any of the police’s time. He is in a pitiful situation because his friends betrayed him and he ended up homeless.”

The inspector said the man did not have the money to pay the €472 damage he caused to the shop.

Petrovic was found guilty and jailed for one year, suspended for 18 months. He was ordered to pay €472 for damages within six months. The court explained the import of this judgment to the accused.

Sources close to the case say the man will be repatriated at the earliest opportunity.