Erasmus student’s drunken tomfoolery lands him conditional discharge

A Spanish Erasmus student in Malta who was charged with drunken and disorderly behaviour leading to voluntary damage to another’s property has been conditionally discharged 

Bittor Barandiaran Fernandez, a Spanish Erasmus student in Malta has been charged with drunken and disorderly behaviour leading to voluntary damage to another’s property. 

The court heard how on the way from a boat party on 19 May, the inebriated Fernandez stopped with a friend besides a stationary motorcycle in Sliema. 

Fernandez fooled around with the motorbike and went so far as to lift the side-stand and pretend to ride it. 

The two took pictures and videos of their antics. 

In a matter of time, drunk and unable to control the parked motorbike, Fernandez dropped the bike and though he himself was unhurt, the motorbike suffered a scratch on its left side.

The prosecution told the court how all this was caught on surveillance cameras on Sacro Cour Street in Sliema.

Fernandez pleaded guilty to the charges in the presence of his family who came to Malta for the court hearing. 

“He fully cooperated with the police and even promised to pay for the damages incurred, which amount to €236,” the prosecution said. 

“Although the accused did something stupid, he fully cooperated and will pay in full. He also exhibited repentance for his actions, so the prosecution is not pushing for imprisonment in this case,” it added.

Presiding magistrate Charmaine Galea explained in English, for the benefit of the foreign defendant, that the crime he committed, that of voluntary damage to property, carries with it the maximum penalty of six months imprisonment. 

She presented to the accused, based on his guilty plea, two possible penalties: a suspended sentence or conditional discharge. 

Legal aid lawyer Francina Abela said that Fernandez was merely a student who had been enjoying himself. 

“He is sorry for his actions and wants to settle the debt. I would ask the court to offer a conditional discharge so his conduct would not be marred,” she said. 

Hearing the case, the court found Fernandez guilty and conditionally discharged him for a period of six months as it ordered him to pay €236 to the owner of the motorbike.