Homeless youths who broke into villa during rainstorm conditionally discharged

The youths cooperated with the police and had no intention of robbing the house

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

Three young homeless men have been conditionally discharged after they broke into an abandoned villa during this week’s storm.

The court heard how the three foreign youths had been living in a homeless shelter in Dar Papa Frangisku in Santa Venera when they were evicted after having lived there for the maximum allowed period of seven weeks.

With no place to stay and with rain pelting down, the group of three broke into the nearby Villa Fontaine Bleau in St Venera, an abandoned building. The prosecution said that the men broke into the building via a window they shattered which led into the building’s kitchen. 

“This is a humanitarian case and the three young men broke a window to get in, which value is no more than €5,” prosecuting officer Matthew Galea told the court, adding that the owner of the building hadn’t even asked for renumeration for the damages caused. 

The incident happened on 11 September at around 3:45pm. Police had acted upon a police report filed by neighbours. 

The media had previously reported the case was one of robbery, with members of the Rapid Intervention Unit having been called in to apprehend the robbers. The court however heard how this was erroneous as there was nothing to be stolen in the abandoned villa since it was in a skeletal condition with no valuables to speak of within.   

Though the three men were homeless, they told the court that they were still willing to pay for the damages caused and pleaded guilty to breaking and entering.

The prosecution explained how the youths had fully cooperated with police and that there was no intention for them to rob the property. It was simply a case of them trying to find shelter from the pouring rain. 

The court did not order them to pay damages since the owner of the property hadn’t asked for it and conditionally discharged them for a period of one year.

It explained that if they were to commit a crime within that one year, they could be sentenced to prison for a maximum of three months. 

Inspector Matthew Galea prosecuted.

Charmaine Sheritt was legal aid lawyer.

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