Man, wife, claim police beating

A man described in court today how he was beaten up by policemen who, it was claimed, had also threatened to have sex with his wife in front of him.

Joseph Azzopardi, 43 of Sta Lucija, was testifying in a case where he stands accused of assaulting the police and violently resisting arrest on February 10, 2006 near Hagar Qim.

He told the court that on the day, he was at a restaurant with his family. Two men started arguing and throwing bottles. He told them to quiet down and banged on the table A thick gold bracelet which he was wearing fell to the floor.

At that point Mr Azzopardi said he and his family left the restaurant. 

As they were driving home, he realised that he had lost his bracelet and they headed back to the restaurant. On the way, he spotted a police car and told the policemen what had happened.

One of the policemen told him in a vulgar way that they did not care. One of the policemen then drove the police car forward, pinning him against his own car.

He then got out and started beating him up, Mr Azzopardi told the court.

He said one of the policemen's names was Joseph and he was known as l-annimal. The other one was known as 'ginger'.

The assault took place in front of his wife and two young children. A number of other policemen who happened to have been investigating the restaurant fight also turned up and started hitting him.

Mr Azzopardi said he remembered the tattoo of a snake on the calf muscle of one of the policemen.

Breaking into tears, he said he could never forget what happened. He could picture and recognise every one of the policemen, but he never filed a report.

He said his children witnessed the incident. One of them had continued to stammer from that day, and they were both afraid of the police.

Sharon Azzopardi, the accused's wife, told the court that she almost went crazy as she saw the officers beating up her husband. She said one of the officers told her husband that they were going to have sex with her in front of him.

The children were crying throughout all this.

She said her husband was then arrested and taken to police headquarters but he was not accepted because he was badly beaten up. Instead he was taken to a health centre and later kept under arrest and charged with violently resisting the police.




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