A self-declared 'Satanist' was fined €4,000 for swearing at a magistrate in court on Thursday.

George Farrugia, 58 of Valletta, was charged with stealing a gold bracelet from an elderly woman in Ħamrun and holding his victim against her will.

He was further charged with stealing two suitcases from Valletta and also with relapsing.

As legal aid lawyer Martin Fenech spoke to his client before the hearing, the man broke out into a tirade of abusive language upon the mention of a possible prison term.

As he swore at Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech, he was fined €1,000 and ordered out of the courtroom. But as he continued to swear at the magistrate the fine was gradually raised to €4,000.

The man also claimed to be homeless and had been abandoned by his family, adding that the court never gave him a chance.

It was a repentant and rather subdued man who was later escorted back to the court, where he apologised to the magistrate.

“I accept your apology for the outburst but not your swearing,” the magistrate sternly declared. “Don't apologise to me but to... (indicating heavenwards.)”

The accused retorted: "I’m a satanist, but I respect your beliefs," before turning to indicate a tattooed upside down cross on his neck.

As for the charges, he admitted that he had stolen the bracelet from the elderly victim but insisted he was not violent.

In view of the accused’s admission, the court remanded him in custody pending judgment and issued a Provisional Treatment Order for him to receive immediate help.

Inspectors Saviour Baldacchino and Daryl Borg prosecuted.