A man who landed in trouble with seven police officers, punching one of them in the nose, was granted bail after pleading not guilty to a string of offences on Friday.

Roderick Schembri, a 36-year old Birżebbuġa resident who informed the court that he was currently jobless, ended up in the middle of a commotion that broke out on Sunday afternoon at a bar in his hometown. 

Police turned up at the bar following a report about some trouble by a drunken customer. 

But when an officer tried to control the situation, the man reacted aggressively and punched him in the face, causing a bad nose bleed. 

The aggressor was escorted to the local police station but was subsequently taken to hospital in an intoxicated state for medical attention. 

Following Sunday’s incident, the man was placed under police bail until he was summoned back to the police station and subsequently arraigned in court. 

On Friday the man pleaded not guilty to threatening and insulting seven police officers, violently resisting arrest, slightly injuring one of them, refusing to obey legitimate orders, breaching the peace and being drunk in public. 

Prosecuting Inspector Jonathan Cassar objected to a request for bail, highlighting the accused’s “very bad alcohol habit” and his untrustworthy character. 

Just four days prior to Sunday’s incident, Schembri had filed a note in court to explain that he could not attend a hearing in separate proceedings since he was receiving treatment for his alcohol problem. 

The man was a “headache” even for his parents, said the prosecutor, as the elderly couple sat silently at the back of the courtroom, following their son’s arraignment. 

“At CCF he would not abuse alcohol,” went on the inspector, adding that it was not right for a police officer to end up injured when trying to perform his duties. 

Besides, a civilian witness present at the time of the incident in the bar was still to testify, the court was told. 

Defence lawyer Leon Camilleri rebutted that besides that sole civilian, other witnesses were police officers and there was also CCTV footage of the whole episode. 

After hearing submissions, the court, presided by magistrate Yana Micallef Stafrace, granted him bail against a deposit of €500, a personal guarantee of €10,000, signing the bail book daily and abiding by a curfew between 8pm and 6am. 

“I set these conditions for his own good,” said the magistrate. 

Turning to the man standing before her she added, “Should you breach one of these you’ll likely go straight to jail… If there are matters to see to, I suggest now is the time to do so.” 

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us