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22-year-old commits 36 offences - court offers a lifeline after hearing his story

Young man speaks of a life of woe

A young man who admitted 36 offences related to 22 car thefts over a span of two months, gave a lengthy speech in court today during which he voiced frustration at society, which appeared to have let him down.

Shaun Caruana, 22, who has been living rough since having recently left prison, spoke out in his own defence.

“You’re so young. Thirty-six offences and you're just 22. How can you explain this mare magnum of crimes?” the court asked.

In reply, the young man broke out into an impassioned speech, declaring that he was “fed up of this life.” Finding himself homeless and jobless after a life spent being juggled from one institution to another,  he said he had resorted to theft.

I have no drug problem now. But finding myself desperate for food and drink and with no money in my pocket, I had to steal.

“I have no drug problem now. But finding myself desperate for food and drink and with no money in my pocket, I had to steal.”

He said he even sought refuge at the YMCA where he found some shelter but no food. “Since I am over 18, I was told that I was not entitled to receive food at the shelter,” he explained.

During his stint in jail, he never received any help to prepare himself for a job which could save him from his misery, he added.

Legal aid lawyer Noel Bartolo stated that in his experience in court, he had never come across such a case where the accused spoke out so clearly in his own defence.

“The law certainly calls for punishment but this man needs help to reintegrate with society once he walks out of jail. Otherwise the whole system would be a failure,” stated Dr Bartolo, with the prosecution voicing its agreement.

The law certainly calls for punishment but this man needs help to reintegrate with society once he walks out of jail. Otherwise the whole system would be a failure.

Upon the accused's own admission, the court sentenced the man to a jail term of three and a half years.

However, in the light of the particular circumstances of the case, Magistrate Francesco Depasquale called on the prison authorities to ensure, with immediate effect, the young inmate was taught a trade so that he could be in a position to work and earn a living.

“I’m trying to help you. Now make sure that you do your part,” the Magistrate told the offender, who nodded in agreement.

Inspector Elliott Magro prosecuted.

Lawyer Noel Bartolo was legal aid.

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