A magistrate has denied bail to a man who called his former partner’s phone to speak to his three-year old son, allegedly breaching a protection order prohibiting any such communication.

“A protection order means that you do not communicate for any reason whatsoever, nothing, zero,” Magistrate Yana Micallef Stafrace said as she  presided over the arraignment of the 39-year old builder from Birkirkara.

The man, whose name is not being disclosed to protect the identity of the alleged victim who is his estranged partner, was arrested after the woman reported him to the domestic violence unit on Sunday evening.

The former couple are going through mediation at the Family Court and a protection order had been issued against the man pending those proceedings.

Last Sunday, he repeatedly tried to call his partner on Facebook Messenger but she did not take his calls, the court was told.

Around 7:15pm, he called her phone from an unknown number.

Sensing that it might be her ex, the woman handed her mobile phone to her infant child, putting the device on speaker mode.

The caller was her ex who told the boy, “Aw qalbi. Ħsibt li mhux se tweġibni dik il-minfuħa ommok” (Hello dear. I thought that big-headed mother of yours would not answer me)

That call triggered the woman’s report to the police.

Her ex was arrested and taken to court on Tuesday, pleading not guilty to misusing electronic communications equipment, insulting or threatening his ex and breaching a protection order.

He was also charged with relapsing.

The accused pleaded not guilty.

His lawyer, Lennox Vella, made a request for bail arguing that family court proceedings were not to be used as a weapon to prevent the father from seeing his minor son.

The woman had not hesitated in communicating with the accused when she wanted to go abroad for a week, entrusting their child in his care, he pointed out.

Furthermore the protection order did not bar the father from speaking to his son, argued Vella.

But the court observed that a protection order was “very clear.”

“Whatever the situation it’s at [the alleged victim’s] discretion not his. A protection order means that you do not communicate, nothing, zero, zilch!”said the Magistrate, observing that since the call was made to the woman’s phone, the accused appeared to have prima facie breached the protection order.

“Not a very clever thing to do!” she said.

“How could he speak to his three-year old son?”insisted the accused’s lawyer, pointing out further that the man was a self-employed builder with clients lined up and waiting for his works.

“She reported him for saying half a word. Let alone if he were to approach her! She’d go straight to the domestic violence unit,” went on the lawyer.

The court observed that at arraignment stage it was not clear who was taunting who but a protection order meant that there could be no communication.

The accused should seek other channels to communicate by speaking to his lawyer, went on the magistrate.

The prosecution objected to the request for bail citing the fear of tampering with evidence since the alleged victim was still to testify.

Moreover the accused had a criminal record that was five pages long.

After hearing submissions the court turned down the request for bail.

Inspector Christian Cauchi prosecuted.

Lawyer Lennox Vella was defence counsel.

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