Two French friends who tried to leave Malta using fake COVID-19 test results have instead ended up with suspended prison sentences.

Tabatoni Samuel Numa, 25 and Jean Marine Michelosi, 24, were caught with the falsified documents at Malta International Airport on Friday. Travellers entering France must currently present a negative PCR COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of their flight.

Both the men pleaded guilty to charges when arraigned in court on Saturday morning. Magistrate Yana Micallef Stafrace gave both of them two-year prison sentences, suspended for four years.

A third man arraigned on Saturday, who is a Libyan national, also pleaded guilty to the same charges. The falsified test result he presented as he was leaving Malta on Friday had also expired.

The man was given a PCR test after his arrest and resulted negative to the virus. 

The court ordered a ban on his name, after prosecutors told the court that the man was helping police in an investigation to catch people who are producing and selling the fake COVID-19 test certificates.

He was conditionally discharged for two years.

Police Inspector Silvio Magro prosecuted. Lawyer Joe Brincat represented the two Frenchmen arraigned, while lawyer Charles Mercieca was defence counsel for the Libyan man charged. 

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