A man who smashed the front door of an architect’s office in anger after being evicted has been handed a suspended sentence and ordered to reimburse the damages. 

Amadou Conteh, a 47-year old Gambian national living at Għaxaq, was escorted to court on Wednesday and charged with being involved in two separate episodes of violence targeting an architectural office in Birkirkara. 

The first incident took place early in the morning of January 5, when Conteh allegedly showed up outside the office and damaged its front door, CCTV cameras, intercom and letterbox. 

Four days later, when the damaged cameras and intercom had been replaced, he returned with an iron bar, causing further damage. 

Prosecuting inspector Roderick Spiteri said that Conteh had caused an estimated €4,242 worth of damage.

Conteh’s lawyer, Mark Mifsud Cutajar, told the court that his client had been evicted from a property owned by the architects and had ended up homeless at one point “because they threw him out.” 

Inspector Spiteri noted that the accused had been cooperative and spoken about some “divergences” with his “previous employer.”

However, lawyer Lucio Sciriha, appearing on behalf of the architects, clarified that Conteh had not been employed by the architects but rather, by one of their clients. 

Defence lawyer Mifsud Cutajar said his client had admitted to the wilful damage in his statement to the police, had confirmed the facts and his participation in the crime. The accused also had a clean criminal record, he added. 

“After being evicted without any explanation, he felt that he had to vent his anger against the perit,” the lawyer went on, stating further that the accused was sorry for what he did, apologised and was willing to pay for the damage.

In view of the man’s admission, the court, presided over by magistrate Charmaine Galea, explained the implications of such guilty plea, allowing him time to reconsider. 

“Ok. Yeah, yeah! I’m not going to commit another crime,” the accused replied.

The court declared him guilty, condemned him to a two-year jail term suspended for three years and ordered him to pay €4,242 in damages within six months.

Upon a request by parte civile lawyers, Michael and Lucio Sciriha, the court further issued a protection order in favour of two architects at the firm, warning the accused not to approach them in any way.

“But if I need to pass [through]?” the man asked.

“You can pass, but you mustn’t go to the premises. You must have a specific reason to pass through that street. There are other streets in Birkirkara,” magistrate Galea warned. 

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