A man who was jailed for fleeing police custody in 2014 had most of his jail time docked by an appeals court, which reduced his 31 months in jail to just two months.

Mr Justice Neville Camilleri spared Carl Bonnici a chunk of his prison time after ordering that a suspended sentence he had breached is not converted into a prison sentence but extended, giving him the opportunity to continue the positive route he had embarked on.

Bonnici had been convicted of escaping police custody in May 2014 when he had escaped from the Żejtun police station, resisting arrest, relapsing and committing a crime during the operative term of a suspended sentence.

The court heard how he was informed of his arrest when he went to the police station to sign his bail book. However, he tried to flee but was apprehended by three officers.

Five years later, the first court found him guilty and condemned him to seven months in jail as well as a €4,000 fine. It also brought into effect a 24-month prison sentence that had been suspended for four years.

Mr Justice Camilleri found that he could not have been found guilty of violently assaulting the police during his attempt to flee from custody and therefore reduced the effective prison term to two months.

A social inquiry report prepared by Bonnici’s probation officer detailed how he was now on the right track. The appeal’s court also considered the almost 10 years that had passed since the incident. In the circumstances, the court revoked the conversion of the suspended sentence into an effective prison term and instead extended the term of the suspended sentence.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri were defence counsel.

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