‘Colourful character’ fined €400

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A man who was found guilty of sending threatening texts on Tuesday got a total of €400 in fines for two separate cases.

The man burst into a courtroom and started shooting prompting presiding Magistrate Charmaine Galea to tell the man off.

Zeiad Mohamed Abuzoda, 40, from Tripoli had previously been charged over a number of threatening messages he allegedly sent.

The first case took place on 9 August 2019 and concerned an English-speaking Arab national working as a legal translator in Malta for the past 25 years. He took the witness stand saying that things turned sour between the two when the accused began to send him insulting and threatening messages in Arabic on his phone.

Copies of the messages were exhibited in court. The witness told the court that he had assisted the accused in many cases before he started sending him threatening messages.

“He offended my mother very much,” the witness said. He added that the man threatened to kill him and his dog. It was only after the second case concerning the accused, that the accused changed his mind and pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him. The court declared the man guilty and fined him €200.

In the second case, a man took the witness stand and testified how the accused would call him from jail asking for money. It started with the accused asking the witness for €50. The witness explained that the brother of the accused refused to help the man. He recalled one incident when he tried to bring €1,500 to the man in jail.

The witness explained that the requests for money were eventually replaced with threatening messages and a call from prison.

The witness said that the accused threatened to kill him and blind him.

“Even today, when he entered the courtroom he passed disparaging remarks at us,” the witness said.

As the court heard the witness, the man at the dock shifted restlessly, uttering the occasional loud remark. He even made ‘time-out’ gestures to grab the attention of his lawyer, who constantly motioned the accused to keep silent and let him “get on with his work”.

Lawyer Mario Mifsud who appeared for the accused argued that although his client did have a “colourful character”, the court should base its decision on the evidence put forward.

Dr Mifsud observed that the prosecution did not bring the “best evidence”. He highlighted that all outgoing and incoming calls to the Corradino Correctional Facility were recorded. He referred to the testimony of one of the witnesses sayin that in this case the recording of that phone call could have been brought and presented as evidence in court.

“The best evidence was missing,” Dr Mifsud argued, saying that the man should therefore be acquitted.

The man was found guilty and fined €200. The court issued a five-year protection order in favour of the witness.

After the man was sentenced for the second case, he went outside with his lawyer and returned to plead guilty for the charges brought against him in the first case.

Magistrate Charmaine Galea declared the man guilty in both cases and fined him €200 in each case. She issued a five-year protection order in favour of both victims.

The sitting ended with the man demanding to speak after the sentence was handed down. Magistrate Galea admonished the man.

He then shouted “where is my car?” at one of the witness causing the lawyer to intervene, telling him to calm down and that it will be subject of a separate case opened before the civil court.