Former Malta international Bogdanovic fined for firearm violations

Footballer cleared of charges related to physical violence

Former Malta international footballer Daniel Bogdanovic was today fined €1,000 after a court found he had kept firearms in unsecured locations at his home and sent his wife a threatening SMS. 

Mr Bogdanovic was cleared of causing his wife fear of physical violence but he was ordered to stay away from her for three years, with magistrate Joe Mifsud imposing a protection order on her and her relatives. 

READ: Inquiry finds decision to release Bogdanovic lacked sensitivity

The accused's wife, allegedly acting on suspicions that her husband was being unfaithful, had sent him several SMSs on this subject, the court was told.

At one point, Mr Bogdanovic replied in a threatening tone telling her that he would "bury her," a threat which he never intended to carry out, he later admitted under police questioning.

The woman reported the matter to the police who carried out a search in the couple's home in Għajnsielem. The search yielded two weapons, a Luvo rifle and an Arsenal pistol, together with ammunition.

The court found that there was no doubt that Mr Bogdanovic had failed to observe firearm registration laws, with police finding a pistol by his bedside and a rifle leaning against a sofa at his home. It suspended all his firearms licences for one year. 

Mr Bogdanovic's case came to light after Malta Today reported that he had been released from police custody just in time to play a key football match, following pressure from police top brass. 

The claims prompted a government inquiry, headed by retired Brigadier Carmel Vassallo, which found that while Mr Bogdanovic's release was not due to any external pressure, the decision had lacked sensitivity

In its judgment, the court condemned what it called "irresponsible reporting" about the case and said that much of what was reported was "built on fantasy and not proof". 

Malta Today executive editor Matthew Vella replied by noting that their newspaper's report dealt with the manner in which Mr Bogdanovic had been released from police custody, and not the charges he faced.