Pretending to be a fortune teller for financial gain, leading an idle and vagrant lifestyle, as well as public drunkenness are among the minor contraventions that will shift to being heard by a justice commissioner rather than by a magistrate, in a bid to free up the courts and improve efficiency.

A spokesperson for the Justice Ministry told Times of Malta on Thursday that a Bill due to be presented to parliament after the summer recess would be proposing that 39 contraventions listed in the Criminal Code be heard by regional tribunals instead of the magistrates' court.

The offences include:

  • Cutting grass or dumping construction waste in the vicinity of fortifications;
  • Refusing to give information or giving false information to public officials in case of an emergency;
  • Allowing “insane” persons in your custody to wander at large;
  • Vagrancy;
  • Opening a public place of worship without a license;
  • Pretending to be fortune-telling or dream interpreting for purpose of gain;
  • Disturbing people’s sleep at night through rowdiness;
  • Disguising yourself in public;
  • Leaving a weapon, or an object that can be used as a weapon, in an open space;
  • Quarrelling in the street as a joke;
  • Pulling down permitted political posters;
  • Seeking medical services while pretending to be sick;
  • Begging;
  • Leaving your spouse, parents or children in want due to indolence;
  • Running “violently” in the street;
  • Disturbing the public peace;
  • Public drunkenness;
  • Performing an activity without the necessary license;
  • Unlawful betting;
  • Using the swings in a playground if you are over 15 years old;
  • Using gas canons to make noise;
  • Fighting someone with stones and throwing stones at someone’s house;
  • Trying to push or use force against a person to insult or annoy them;
  • Throwing water or filth at people or at their houses;
  • Frightening people in a way that may cause them harm as a joke;
  • Failing to care for or report an abandoned child to the police;
  • Shooting doves or pigeons that belong to another person; and
  • Plucking and eating fruit from somebody else’s field.

The full list of contraventions can be viewed online on the Legislation Malta website. They are the following: Chapter 9's Article 338 (a), (b), (c), (d), (i), (j), (l), (m), (n), (p), (q), (r), (s), (t), (u), (v), (w), (x), (y), (aa), (cc), (dd), (ff), (gg), (hh), (ii), (jj), (kk) and (mm);  Article 339(1) (a), (b), (c), (d), (f), (i), (k), (l) and (m); as well as  Article 340 (a) and (b), which are to be classified as administrative offences rather than criminal ones.


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