Man fined for illegally dumping waste but keeps car

The car was returned to him after a judge noted that it could only be impounded on the request of the prosecution, which made no such request

The car was impounded after CCTV footage showed Gaffarena illegally dumping waste
The car was impounded after CCTV footage showed Gaffarena illegally dumping waste

Businessman Mark Gaffarena has narrowly escaped having his car impounded after he was found guilty of littering offences.

Gaffarena had been found guilty by a court of Magistrates of illegally dumping waste in Handaq on 17 August 2017. He was also convicted of using a motor vehicle during the commission of an offence, with the prosecution having requested the temporary confiscation of his vehicle.

The court of Magistrates had fined Gaffarena €1,200, and ordered the impounding of his vehicle for two months, as well as the suspension of his driving licence for the same period.

Gaffarena filed an appeal but did not contest the fact that he had thrown out a garbage bag and had apologised through his lawyer to the court.

The businessman had appealed on the grounds of the application of the wrong law: 9(1A) of the Litter Act instead of 9(1). The former is a more aggravated form of the crime for substantial amounts of litter.

The court of appeal presided by madam justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera noted the man’s admission.

The courts had seen the affidavit by a police sergeant who had been informed by an anonymous caller that a person had just stopped his car and dumped garbage.

CCTV footage had led the police to Gaffarena’s number plate. The nature of the waste was not established.

But the judge noted that the law states that the car can only be impounded on the request of the prosecution and no such request was made. 

The court confirmed the conviction but modified the punishment, fining the man €250 and revoking the part which seized his car and driving licence.

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