Two 16-year-old boys who admitted in August to mugging a courier who had just delivered their food, hitting him with a hammer and making off with his motorbike, were both placed under probation with one of them also ordered to carry out 100 hours of community work. 

The youths, whose names were banned by court order since both are minors, were arrested in August after police tracked them down as the suspects behind the unprovoked attack, which took place at the car park outside the Marsaxlokk football ground. 

The food courier had gone to the Birżebbuġa police station to report that he had been assaulted and punched by two youths who were expecting the delivery. 

After appearing to find some fault with the food, the two had suddenly turned upon the victim, striking him with a hammer and damaging two of his teeth. 

The aggressors then fled the scene, taking with them the courier’s motorcycle. 

One of the suspects, when tracked down shortly after the incident, admitted to the wrongdoing, and led police to an abandoned house, situated in an alley, where they had hidden the bike which had already been sprayed in a different colour. 

The first suspect led the police to his partner in crime. 

Both teens, watched over by anxious parents in court, had registered an admission upon arraignment, their lawyers explaining that the accused needed to be monitored to avoid the occurrence of future incidents. 

For that reason, they also requested a pre-sentencing report for each of the teens who were, meanwhile, granted bail. 

Those reports were drawn up by probation officers who presented them in court. 

One of the youngsters led a relatively stable life.

He was a student, with plans of taking up a part-time job and having no substance abuse problems. 

However, there were certain issues, such as his pent-up anger, which needed to be addressed, advised the probation officer, recommending that any court sentence ought not disrupt his relatively stable life. 

After examining that report. the court, presided over by Magistrate Gabriella Vella, concluded that, although the appropriate sentence should have been one of imprisonment, monitoring by the probation officer was necessary to avert further harm to the public and avoid future wrongdoing. 

For that reason, the teen was placed under a three-year probation order and ordered to carry out 100 hours of community work at a place to be decided upon in collaboration with his probation officer.

As for the second teen, since his report indicated that he needed psychiatric and psychological help to tackle certain issues, including drug and alcohol abuse, the court also placed him under a three-year probation order as well as a treatment order. 

Although both accused had declared that they were willing to cover the damages caused to the victim, the court could not quantify these and order payment thereof since legally sufficient evidence had not been produced to that effect. 

However, that did not prejudice the victim’s right to seek payment through other opportune legal avenues. 

Inspector James Mallia prosecuted.  Lawyers Veronique Dalli and Dean Hili were counsel to one of the accused, while lawyer Amadeus Cachia was counsel to the other. 

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