The Court needs to send out a clearer message

Clearly there is something wrong with our justice system. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why violence never seems to be properly punished, and if it is, it never feels like justice has been made.

I am of course referring to the latest judgement given to an AFM soldier who was violent towards his wife during their separation. This seems to be happening more and more often, but then again what would you expect when we live in times when an affluent, former politician, chair of the Saint James Hospital Group, is quoted as saying that women often provoke men into violence?

Even if provocation is the case, violence is never the answer, and condemning such acts is not enough, the justice system should be sending out clearer messages.

The Times reports; “Before jailing him, Magistrate Giovanni Grixti said Mr Psaila was not a first-time offender and, considering the torture he put his wife through, he would not benefit from any reduction in punishment.”

What about the fact he is also an AFM soldier and that he is duty bound not to offend the peace? And this happened just a few months after it was reported that a policeman fired three shots at his wife at her place of work critically injuring her.

It feels like crimes of violence are being taken very lightly.

Take some of the most recent notorious examples;

  • Punching of protestors in Marsaxlokk – €60 fine (not even taking into consideration priors and turning up to court in shorts).
  • Man runs over another man because of a sexual slur – conditionally discharged

And yet, we still have a person serving a 12 year jail sentence for growing a marijuana plant on his own property, even when a man who raped his 3 adolescent daughters was only given 10 years of jail time.

My point is that, from where I am standing, I cannot seem to understand the weight and measures used by our legal system.

Marijuana IS illegal, and yes I do understand that a person should be punished for possession because they would be breaking the law. But why is possession of marijuana worse than violence and even worse than rape? Violence, of any kind, needs to be properly condemned.

Magistrate Carol Peralta puts the rage in outrageous

Shortly after the bigoted message of Josie Muscat, saying that victims of abuse provoke the aggressor, we are handed a sentence which not only condones homophobia but again absolves the aggressor on the only account of provocation.

Reading through the articles on both The Times and MaltaToday (which I had to read more than once because frankly I just couldn’t believe what was being reported) the story goes something like this;

Accused and victim drinking in the same bar,
Victim is drunk, gestates something stupid,
Closing time – everyone goes their separate ways,
Accused sees victim in the street,
Accused runs over victim with car,
Accused is conditionally discharged.

Huh?

Granted this is the simplistic version, but it is basically the gist of the story. Not to mention this was the information the public was given since according to Alison Bezzina the court transcript wasn’t even made available. What I didn’t mention is that the victim was attacked because he insinuated the aggressor was gay, which apparently is reason enough to get run over by a car if you live in Mellieħa and you have a reputation to defend.

To me this is not just a case of homophobia but a perfect example of the mentality people are getting accustomed to. Basically there is no sense of responsibility anymore. Whatever happened to being accountable for your actions? People punch others during a protest and are handed a EUR60 fine, or, in this case, run over a man and are merely conditionally discharged.

Am I the only one thinking there’s not much point in being good, and following the rules? Running over a man is way less expensive than sessions of anger management at the psychologist’s, so if you feel something abrewing, the Maltese legal system is basically telling you ‘it’s ok, we will understand you have issues and we will be lenient”.

Yes I am angry, outraged even. People need to learn the value of accountability, and this won’t happen if the courts hand down these kinds of judgments, so I am more than happy to read this morning that the Attorney General Peter Grech is considering appealing against Magistrate Carol Peralta’s decision. Kudos!

Remember these guys? Fined EUR60 for punching protestors at Marsaxlokk, even after turning up to court in shorts and a tshirt? Photo by Chris Sant Fournier for timesofmalta.com