A father who vented his frustration after learning he could not travel to see his sick son in Germany, was handed a suspended sentence and ordered to pay for vandalising an airport monitor. 

Abdirizak Abdillah Abdi, the 27-year old Ethiopian national, had landed under preventive custody after months of pent up frustration sparked an incident at Malta International Airport in June.

The man was charged of damaging a flight monitor screen at MIA when he learnt he could not travel to Germany to sign for the boy’s surgery.

During his arraignment, prosecuting Inspector Silvio Magro had explained how the man had subsequently turned up at the police station to report the damage. 

But the man pleaded not guilty after being informed that wilful damage to third party property was considered a serious offence, possibly resulting in a term of imprisonment. 

A request for bail was turned down since the accused was not deemed sufficiently trustworthy and besides, there was a degree of uncertainty with respect to his address. 

When the case came up for its first hearing, the accused registered an admission.

His legal aid lawyer, Christopher Chircop, explained that the man’s family lived in Germany.

His son needed surgery but German authorities were insisting on having the father’s signature before proceeding with the operation. 

After several months of struggling to obtain his travel document, the man’s frustration had spilled over, the lawyer explained, adding that the accused was sorry for what he had done. 

Inspector Magro submitted an estimate of damages caused to the MIA monitor, amounting to €633, excluding VAT. 

When making submissions on punishment, the prosecutor pointed out that the accused had fully cooperated.

In light of his early guilty plea, the fact that the accused had reported his wrongdoing to the police and cooperated fully, the court, presided over by magistrate Victor George Asciak imposed a minimum jail term of eight months suspended for one year.

The accused was also ordered to reimburse €633 in damages to MIA plc within 12 months, in equal monthly instalments.

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