A pensioner has landed himself with a suspended sentence and a €500 fine for posting threatening comments against MEP David Casa on Facebook.

Defence lawyer Noel Bianco pointed out it was impossible for his client to meet the two-month deadline for payment of the fine since he had little means.

“Those are the terms,” was the court's final word.

Back in December, 65-year old Lewis Bartolo posted a comment on his Facebook wall urging viewers to "Eliminate this rascal (who robs) his country. His face reveals his true colours" with reference to the PN MEP.

The comment was aimed at Mr Casa after he joined a European Parliament committee which investigated the rule of law in Malta following the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The man was charged with having threatened and insulted the MEP by means of such post as well as with the improper use of electronic equipment, a charge which carried a maximum penalty of around €23,000.

Standing in the dock today, the anxious-looking man from Ħamrun, declared himself guilty and tendered an apology for Mr Casa who, at once, nodded and accepted the man's public show of remorse.

“Please excuse me. I didn't mean it that way. I'm not familiar with computer matters,” the man declared.

But Magistrate Audrey Demicoli said such means of communication are not to be used in such manner, adding that the courts were being inundated with such cases.

“Society must educate itself on such matters.”

Lawyers assisting Mr Casa pointed out that although their client was not after "the pound of flesh" they wanted to stress that such messages could do great harm by instigating hatred.

In view of the man’s admission and public apology, the court declared him guilty, imposing a 12-month jail term suspended for two years and a €500 fine payable within two months.

The court also issued a protection order operative for two years in favour of Mr Casa.

Lawyers Paul Borg Olivier, Richard Sladden and Jason Azzopardi assisted Mr Casa. Inspector Lara Butters prosecuted.

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