‘This was unprovoked aggression – bullying’
Marsaxlokk victim won’t press charges
As the police prepare to appeal against the €60 fines handed to five men who caused a ruckus at Il-Magħluq beach in Marsaxlokk on Sunday, the victim and his family remain unwilling to take the case any further.
The incident sparked uproar, with images of the five men becoming the talk of the town and people objecting to the fines they received.
But Christopher Haber, who agreed to drop charges so the case could be forgotten, knows he stands nothing to gain from the appeal.
His decision to renounce criminal action prevented the courts from declaring the men guilty of causing him slight injuries.
Instead, the men were fined €60 for swearing and breaching public peace.
Mr Haber, a Marsaxlokk resident, simply wants to get on with his life and put the ordeal behind him.
He has no intention of provoking them into potential retaliation.
Things would have been different, he said, if the fines imposed by the court could be saved for his use in case his injuries proved more serious down the line, as a form of compensation.
Although the doctors who examined Mr Haber deemed his injuries to be minor, he said he was still feeling pain in his chest and stiffness in his upper body from all the blows he received.
“This wasn’t a fight,” he said, stressing that the event was not even a protest but a meeting where residents were invited to express their concerns about the deterioration of the area.
His concerns were not related to the tents but that boats in the area were being vandalised.
“This was unprovoked aggression – bullying. And no one stopped them to help me,” he said, stressing that he never wanted any trouble and was not a violent person.
He also thinks the organisers should have informed the police beforehand, especially considering the meeting was held so close to the people they were criticising.
His family is particularly upset that no local institutions have stood up to protect him. The Church and political parties have remained silent, even though they often reacted to such incidents, according to his family. He has also lost faith in the public.
“Look at all the people writing comments on the internet and saying the fines were unjust... No one stood up for me when I was attacked.”
Meanwhile, families who set up camps at Marsaxlokk yesterday seemed undeterred by the planning authority’s enforcement notice telling them to leave the area. Martin Tonna, from Żabbar, said his family only descended on the beach for the Santa Marija festivities and would have left by the time the Malta Environment and Planning Authority forced them out.
He deemed the matter unfair because, as a taxpayer, he felt he should have the right to use the beach, which was not there just for people from Marsaxlokk.
Mr Tonna added that the area was full of rats before it started being used by the campers and it was absurd to think they would pollute the area in which they were living.
Steve Bugeja, also from Żabbar, said that his family always left the place cleaner than they had found it and, although he would be abiding by the enforcement notice, he did not agree with it.
Though some of the campers spoke cordially, others betrayed an aggressive nature.
One man threatened The Times after it obtained a comment from a willing female relative.
“If I see that clip on television I will get you and break your camera,” he warned aggressively.
Meanwhile, writing on behalf of other Marsaxlokk residents, Jean Claude Micallef has asked Ministers Jason Azzopardi and Mario de Marco, responsible for the Land Department and planning authority respectively, to impose stricter law enforcement.
He lamented that three bays were still occupied by campers.