A landlord who made a move on a young French tenant of his ended up with a conditional discharge on Friday after the woman reported him to the police for touching her breast and trying to kiss her.
The 45-year old Maltese man admitted to the charge of violent indecent assault in an incident which took place inside an apartment he had rented out to the student.
Having already visited the place while she was there to repair the bedroom ceiling, the landlord had then returned on Wednesday evening with a bottle of wine and invited his young tenant to share a drink.
But the man had crossed the line when, having told the young lady that he wished to see her dance, he brushed against her breast and tried to kiss her.
The woman got out of the unpleasant situation by telling the man that her friends were waiting for her, rushing out of the apartment and later filing a report with the police.
The culprit was arrested and arraigned on Friday, admitting to the solitary charge of violent indecent assault.
When making submissions on punishment, Inspector Mark Mercieca pointed out that no violence had been involved, adding that the prosecution was not going to insist on an excessive punishment.
Defence counsel Andy Ellul pointed out that the offence of violent indecent assault covered a variety of acts and that the accused’s behaviour figured at the extreme lower end of the spectrum.
“He had been welcoming and had exchanged messages with her. They were having a bottle of wine, the atmosphere was a fun one. My client might have been misled and when he tried to get intimate, the woman backed off and left,” the lawyer explained.
“The fact is that she gave him the impression that she wanted to have sex with him but when he tried to kiss her she felt offended and left.”
Duty magistrate Gabriella Vella observed that in the circumstances, a jail term was not the ideal punishment, thus conditionally discharging the man for a period of two years whilst warning him that if he were to breach the court order he could land a maximum jail term of seven years.
The man was further ordered not to contact or harass the victim for a year, against a €1000 penalty.
The young French woman was expected to leave Malta on Friday.
Inspector Bernardette Valletta also prosecuted.