Two football fans who were allegedly involved in an unrest at Tony Bezzina Stadium in Paola on Sunday have been released on bail after pleading not guilty.
Kerstin Falzon, 21, and Jake Attard, 19, of Birkirkara, were charged with insulting and threatening a police officer, violently resisting arrest and abusive behavior.
Falzon, who showed up with his right foot in a cast and leaning on crutches, was also separately charged with slightly injuring the policeman, willfully damaging the policeman’s body camera holder and having committed such offenses while on condition.
It all started when a commotion broke out in the VIP stand during the Birkirkara-Santa Lucija match.
Police intervened to calm a verbal brawl, targeting the person who appeared to be at the heart of the problem and escorting him out of the stands.
But the move seemed to upset Birkirkara supporters who strongly protested the police’s decision to dismiss a member of their club’s committee.
A police officer approached a group of supporters who allegedly hurled insults at Santa Lucija fans.
Some six fans turned on the officer who had to call for help, prompting the intervention of the Rapid Response Team.
In the ensuing scuffle, the officer suffered minor injuries, Prosecution Inspector Paul Camilleri told court.
Images of the incident clearly revealed Falzon and Attard’s involvement in the incident, the court was told.
However, defense attorney Richard Sladden countered that Attard did not offend anyone or use physical force against anyone, but simply left his seat to rush to the aid of his 17-year-old brother. years who had found himself caught in the commotion in the stands.
“Now if leaving his seat is an offense, then my client is guilty,” Sladden said.
Lawyer Franco Debono, who also assists Attard, pointed out that the 19-year-old had a clean criminal record, adding that the footage clearly showed the youngster had not assaulted anyone but had simply run to help his younger brother .
Attorney Noel Bianco, assistant Falzon, also argued that the youngster ran to help his 17-year-old friend who was allegedly involved in the unrest.
Falzon had also fully cooperated with investigators, the lawyer said.
After hearing the conclusions of the two parties, the court, chaired by the magistrate Monica Vella, granted a request for release on bail against a deposit of 1,000 €, a personal deposit of 3,000 € each, the signing of the booklet deposit once a week and a stay-away order. one of the prosecution witnesses.
The court also issued a protective order in favor of the police officer allegedly involved in the incident, warning the accused to avoid contact with the alleged victim.
Inspector Paul Camilleri was prosecuted. Lawyers Franco Debono, Richard Sladden and Noel Bianco were the defense lawyers.
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