A father struggling to get his life back on track was afforded one last chance by court and has been placed under probation after admitting to stealing photovoltaic panels from the Gozo Ministry car park.

The 36-year old Gozitan resident was accused of aggravated theft that took place on the evening of March 31, when 14 panels went missing from the ministry premises in Victoria. 

The man was also charged with handling stolen property, breaching the terms of a previous probation order as well as relapsing.

The man, who has returned the stolen panels, pleaded guilty.

A probation officer, who has been following the accused for months, expressed surprise when informed about the charges.

He told court that the father had registered “great progress,” attended appointments regularly and was striving to reunite his family.

The man also kept regular contact with his children, the officer explained.

Defence lawyer Larry Formosa argued that putting the man behind bars would possibly place him at risk of a drug relapse.

Placing the accused under a probation order, with close monitoring, would more likely enable him to stick to the right path, argued the lawyer, further suggesting the option of community work.

The court, presided by magistrate Brigitte Sultana, observed that the man had experienced a difficult upbringing and had subsequently fallen under the grips of predators.

When delivering judgment it warned that it was not worth sacrificing his future and that of his dear ones, particularly his children, by committing crimes.

Instead of shutting the “window of opportunity" it handed the accused one last chance to strengthen his relationship with his children.

The court placed the accused under a three-year probation order and 100 hours of community work, warning him that should he throw away this final opportunity, “a prison cell awaited him.”

Inspector Bernard Charles Spiteri prosecuted.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us