[WATCH] Court should consider harsher sentences to prevent aggressive behaviour, Robert Abela says

After Valletta fight leaves youths injured, Prime Minister admits he feels less comfortable allowing his daughter to walk through the streets by herself

Prime Minister Robert Abela
Prime Minister Robert Abela

Courts should consider handing out harsher sentences to prevent aggressive and antisocial behaviour, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Monday.

Speaking to journalists, Abela said that it is unacceptable for the court to give out light sentences to people who have committed harsh crimes.

“My message to the court is to look at the sentencing policy well, see whether the sentences are reflecting the behaviour in society, and if the sentencing policy needs to be recalibrated to send a message of good order… the court needs to take a hard look at this concept” he said.

He was asked on the death of Pelin Kaya last Thursday, who was killed an hour into her 30th birthday last Thursday, when a black BMW rammed into her and killed her while walking in front of the Paul & Rocco petrol station in Gżira at 1am.

He said her murder shocked the country and filled him with rage. “This type of behaviour in our society is not unacceptable.”

He said he was happy with the police force’s work in reacting to the case and bringing the accused to court in a timely manner. 

“I expect the court to send a clear message, particularly in the process of giving bail in this case and other cases, and eventually sentences, that anyone who is incapable of living decently in society and respecting the basic values of our people, and who, with their egoistic attitude wants to hinder the sense of security in our country… there the court needs to send a clear message.”

He insisted that all the necessary resources requested by the disciplined forces have been given, “whether it’s to the police force, LESA, Transport Malta officials”.

Abela touched on the argument that broke out in Valletta over the weekend, which left a group of youths injured.

He said this is a new phenomenon in Valletta, where small groups of people look to start a fight without provocation. “Here I appeal to a sense of responsibility to all citizens.”

He said the police force’s ability to act is limited, even if the state were to double the police force.

“No matter how many police we allocate to the streets in Malta and Gozo – and it’s crucial that we continue doing that - the reality is that not even if we double the police force, they cannot they be visible in every street, at every time and every moment.”

He added that he has his own responsibility as a parent to bring up his daughter in a way that instils respect to society.