An appeals court has confirmed an effective three-year prison term for a 70-year old man who had admitted sexually abusing a number of underage boys.

Valletta resident John Zammit will also have his name recorded in the Sexual Offenders’ Register following the decision by the Criminal Court of Appeal.

The accused was investigated by the police following an anonymous tip-off. He subsequently admitted to having had oral sex with four boys, aged between 13 and 17, in exchange for money or food.

The man, a part-time worker at a pastizzi shop, also admitted the charges in court and was handed a three-year effective jail term. He appealed, arguing that the punishment was excessive.

While acknowledging that what he had done was “very serious,” the accused said that by sending him to prison, the court would allow him no chance to fix the harm done.

The Court of Criminal Appeal, presided over by Madam Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera, focusing upon the accused's own statement, observed that the man, a father of four and separated for the past 37 years, had allegedly been sexually abused by a priest when aged 16.

After years of inner turmoil, the man had finally come to terms with his bisexual tendencies, trying to lead as normal a life as possible.

Asked whether he knew that what he had done in respect of his underage victims was wrong, the man replied “Yes, obviously, I believe everyone can tell that which is wrong.”

Such sexual acts doubtlessly must have negatively impinged upon the victims, leaving them scarred for life, Madam Justice Scerri Herrera remarked, adding that the appellant had abused of “vulnerable persons” who needed a sense of direction in life, using them instead to satisfy his own needs.

“Such behaviour is unacceptable in any circumstance and must certainly be condemned,” the court declared.

Such behaviour is unacceptable in any circumstance- Judge

Himself allegedly a victim of abuse, the appellant had not sought help but had instead abused others and traumatised other minors.

Moreover, pending the appeal proceedings, the appellant had sought no psychiatric treatment or some other form of help, the court observed.

The offences of which he had been found guilty, had the most shocking effect upon society and this made it imperative for the court to protect those “weak and vulnerable citizens” from the repetition of any such crimes.

The court said it could show no clemency towards the appellant in spite of his advanced age and early guilty plea.