Man admits to violent robbery of 71-year-old woman, gets probation

Court places man on treatment order as defence claims he 'needed help, more than prison' 

A man who admitted to robbing an elderly woman in a Birkirkara subway tunnel has been placed on probation after apologising for his actions.

21-year-old Gareth Chlach from Cospicua appeared in the dock before magistrate Nadine Lia this morning, accused of stealing a wallet from a 71-year-old woman. The charges were aggravated by violence. Chlach was also accused of breaching a conditional discharge and relapsing.

Inspectors Fabian Fleri and Lydon Zammit explained to the court how the accused had robbed the woman in a subway under a bypass in Birkirkara on 3 January. He was identified from CCTV and arrested, where he admitted everything to the police.

Defence lawyer George Anton Buttigieg approached the bench, where he discussed the case briefly with the magistrate and the prosecution.

Afterwards, Chlach, a plasterer, pleaded guilty to the charges.

The court was told that the man had cooperated with the police during questioning and had “social problems.” The prosecution said Chlach “needed help, more than prison.”

The defence agreed. “The accused acknowledged that he was in the wrong. He is very sorry.”

The court placed the man on probation for three years, sternly warning him of the consequences of breaching the probation order – which included prison. He was also placed under a treatment order for the same period and ordered to stay out of trouble for one year or face a €1,000 penalty.

A three-year protection order in favour of the victim was also issued.