PD calls for mandatory prison term for crimes involving weapons

The Democratic Party is against suspended sentences for crimes involving weapons and calls for harsher sentences to discourage violent behaviour

Crimes that involve any weapons should carry a minimum prison term, the Democratic Party believes
Crimes that involve any weapons should carry a minimum prison term, the Democratic Party believes

Crimes that involve any form of weapons should be punished with an effective prison term, the Democratic Party said as it called for minimum sentencing policy.

The party said a mere apology, or being forgiven by the victim, should not deter the judiciary from applying harsher sentences to “discourage such violent behaviour”.

PD said that as things stand at the moment, with no minimum prison term set at law, magistrates can hand down suspended sentences for violent crimes.

“We have had three murders within the past fortnight and it appears that suspended sentences are still the order of the day for incidents where injuries are caused by weapons,” PD said.

Although the party made no reference to particular incidents, earlier this week, a man was handed down a suspended sentence after injuring someone with a knife during the Birżebbuġa feast last Sunday. In court the perpetrator apologised to the victim.

“PD believes that whether the injuries are serious or life-threatening should not be the point, but rather the danger which is posed and the mentality behind it… the law should mandate effective prison sentences in cases where any weapons are used, unless there are exceptional and attenuating circumstances such as legitimate self-defence,” the party said.

It also called on the Chief Justice to draw up a minimum sentencing policy to be applied by all magistrates in a bid to stamp out repeat incidents through an effective deterrent.

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