A man who took to social media calling for PN MP Karol Aquilina to be hanged in the Siġġiewi village square, has been conditionally discharged after apologising in court.

Steve Cauchi was summoned to court a week ago over a post he wrote in February, in which he called for Aquilina’s public hanging and his tying "to the statue of San Nikola where every passer-by might stick a sewing needle into him.’

That comment had prompted the MP to report the matter to the police for further investigation. 

When the case was called last week at a Qormi district sitting hearing, Cauchi said he was “genuinely sorry,” adding that he was an acquaintance of the MP and his brothers. 

In view of his early guilty plea and the fact that Aquilina declared on oath that he had forgiven the accused, the court, presided over by magistrate Simone Grech conditionally discharged Cauchi for three years. 

The comment was posted on Facebook after the PN MP addressed parliament on February 8, criticising the police for their handling of former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri and former minister Konrad Mizzi.

'Anxious for my family and colleagues'

In his own reaction to Cauchi’s comment, Aquilina had stated that “such incitement to violence and hatred in [his] regard, would not shut him up and stop him from striving for justice and truth.”

Nothing and no one would stop him, Aquilina adamantly declared. 

“Neither Keith Schembri, nor Konrad Mizzi let alone Mr Steve Cauchi,” the MP had written in his post. 

“Up to that day, I had no idea who he [Cauchi] was,” explained Aquilina, when taking the witness stand last week, adding that although he had grown accustomed to criticism and threats, this Facebook post had gone a step too far.

“I fear that others might react to such incitement,” Aquilina had testified.

Every single day, when walking down Republic Street, there were people who jeered at him, passed comments and threats, Aquilina added.

“Yes, I am anxious for my family and colleagues.”

Inspector Joseph Busuttil prosecuted. 

Lawyers Joe Sammut and Natalia Camilleri were defence counsel. 

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