Italian men who argued with Paceville taxi drivers conditionally discharged

Two Italian men who had an altercation with a group of Paceville taxi drivers last Saturday have been conditionally discharged

Two Italian men who had an altercation with a group of Paceville taxi drivers last Saturday were conditionally discharged. 

Giuseppe Branco and Domenico Marino were resting against a parked taxi in Paceville after a night out at around 4am, the court heard. 

The defence told the court that the owner of the taxi started insulting them and even uttered some racist remarks. More taxi drivers joined in the argument. 

The prosecution agreed with this version of events but added that one of the Italian men had been holding a beer bottle and he threatened the taxi drivers with it. At one point, Marino even pulled out a small Swiss Army knife as “a form of self-defence.”

The two were charged with harassing the driver and being in possession of a sharp weapon. 

Both pleaded guilty. 

The court heard how the two Italian men were in Malta for a holiday and that the pocketknife was found in Gozo. They were set to return to Italy on Sunday at around midnight. 

“The Swiss Army knife’s blade is not more than 8cm long. It should be exempt from being considered an illegal weapon,” defence counsel David Gatt told the court.

“It’s true that the knife is a small one but the law also says that the knife should be in an appropriate place. It’s one thing for it to be in a kitchen, it’s another for it to be in Paceville at 4am in the morning,” prosecuting officer Leeroy Balzan Engerer said.

Hearing both sides of the argument, the court sentenced the accused to a six-month conditional discharge.  

Domenico Marino was also sentenced to pay a fine of €116.47 for being in possession of a pocketknife during the altercation.

David Gatt and John Bonello were defence counsel.

Magistrate Charmaine Galea presided. 

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