Father and son get a dressing-down and a jail term for repeat crime

Father and son get a dressing-down and a jail term for repeat crime

They also lose €22,000 in bail guarantees

A father and son, accused of the attempted theft of machinery from a derelict Marsa factory last November, have each landed an effective jail term and forfeited €22,000 in bail guarantees, after being found guilty.

Keith Joseph Mallia, 46, a transporter driver, and his 19-year old son Mario, a salesman, both from Għaxaq, stood side by side in the crowded courtroom as Magistrate Joseph Mifsud severely rapped them before proceeding to pass judgment.

Upon hearing a probation officer explain how her ward had only turned up for 10 out of the 34 scheduled appointments, Magistrate Mifsud gave the pair a piece of his mind, pointing out that the two were indebted to society.

“Beggars cannot be choosers,” the magistrate remarked, addressing the son and explaining that once given an appointment he was expected to attend. “You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”  

When the father attempted to put in a word, the magistrate cut his efforts short. “You must shoulder responsibility for this. You have dragged your children onto the wrong path, making them part-time thieves,” the magistrate continued.

Father and son had two suspended sentences and five bail decrees between them, before landing afresh in trouble over the attempted robbery from the abandoned factory.

The police had been alerted by an anonymous tip-off about strange noises were heard in the disused building, as though heavy objects were being dragged around. 

Both father and son were arrested and escorted to court over charges of attempted theft, of having broken into the factory premises, causing damage to third party property as well as for having been found in possession of tools normally used in break-ins.

The father alone was charged for having driven a vehicle under an expired licence, with having breached an earlier suspended sentence as well as four different bail decrees, besides being a relapser.

The son alone was charged with relapsing, with violating a conditional discharge, a bail decree and a suspended sentence.

As the judgment was read out, Magistrate Mifsud pointed out how in the course of proceedings, the pair had argued that they had entered the derelict premises in response to nature’s call, attempting to give the impression that their intention was never to steal.

“Why did they not seek a public toilet or some coffee shop?” he remarked, pointing out that the evidence indicated otherwise.

He observed how investigators had come across an air conditioning unit which had evidently just been disconnected, its water pipe was still dripping and oils stains from the unit were evidently fresh.

Calling upon the courts to take action against such criminals who considered themselves as ‘untouchables’, Magistrate Mifsud observed that in this case, the father was proving to be a bad example for his son.

Upon the basis of all evidence and in view of their unruly lifestyle, characterized by various past brushes with the law, the court declared the two guilty and deemed that an effective jail term would be opportune.

After bringing into effect earlier suspended sentences, the court handed Keith Joseph Mallia a 55-month jail term, while his son Mario got a 33-month jail term.

The sum of €19,500 was confiscated from the father and €2,500 from the son for breaching bail conditions. The car used in the commission of the crime was also confiscated.

Both co-accused gave notice of appeal.

Inspector Hubert Cini prosecuted.