An man who could not pass his theory examination because he is illiterate was this afternoon fined €800 after he pleaded guilty to driving without a licence and to threatening a police officer and disobeying his orders. 

Magistrate Carol Peralta showed clemency with Ryan Briffa, 24, from Marsa, even appointing a probation officer to help him study for the exam. 

He heard how Mr Briffa was stopped by a traffic policeman as he was driving his Peugeot on the Regional Road. He stopped him because Mr Briffa is well-known to the police for driving without a licence. 

At first Mr Briffa drove off and was stopped again a few metres away, as he began driving up Sliema Road. 

The court heard how Mr Briffa got out of the car and began threatening the police officer, accusing him of picking on him. Since he was aggressive, the policeman ordered him to stay away or else he will retaliate with pepper spray. To this Mr Briffa threatened to shoot him. 

The police officer radioed for assistance and the man was arrested. 

In court, Mr Briffa admitted to the charges brought against him, including of being a relapser. 

His defence lawyer, Leslie Cuschieri, told the court that his client was not able to read or write and therefore could not pass his theory exam.

Magistrate Peralta explained to the young man that despite being given another chance, he was wrong in insulting a police officer, who was simply doing his job. He fined him €800 and placed him on probation for a year.

Police Inspector Jason Sultana prosecuted. 

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