Man sentenced to 1-year imprisonment for mistreating horse in Gozo

Photo by Todd Aarnes on Unsplash

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

A 22-year-old man was jailed for one year and fined €3,000 after he was found guilty of mistreating a horse.

Robert Omo, a Nigerian national, was accused of causing unnecessary pain, suffering or distress to a horse. He was also accused of trespassing and of committing an offence against public morals.

The case happened on 30 September in a farm in Xewkija.

The accused allegedly entered the farm and tried having sex with a mare named Katya.

CCTV footage showed the accused hitting the mare and kicking it. He was also caught on camera throwing a tyre at her.

The Court said that the footage shows the accused clearly throwing a tyre at the horse. The man was also caught with his pants down, with the accused saying that he needed to urinate. The Court said that for the man to do what he needed to do there was no need to have his pants down. The footage shows the man approaching the horse multiple times.

In his decision, presiding Magistrate Joe Mifsud noted that a strong message needs to be sent to those maltreating animals highlighting that these acts are not acceptable. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, Magistrate Mifsud said that: “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” He observed that from time to time there are reports of animal cruelty that disturb the conscience of the majority of the population who have the animals’ well-being at heart.

The court noted that while it understood why the prosecution charged the man with offending public morals, there are no laws regulating bestiality in Malta. The Court added that in the UK there is a specific law which provides for such offences and where a person if guilty can be imprisoned for twelve months. The Court said that according to a Freedom of Information Act Request, 27 individuals were found guilty of beastiliaty between 2007 and 2016 in the UK.

The man was found guilty on animal cruelty charges and trespassing private property and was jailed for a year and fined €3,000

The Court also urged the Refugee Appeals Board to decide the man’s pending case until the sentence is served. The court noted that the Refugee Commissioner had decided that the accused should file a request for asylum in Italy. The decision was subsequently appealed. The court said that by deciding the pending appeal, the man can be deported to Italy after serving his sentence.

The court also urged the Refugee Appeals Board to decide cases “with no legal complications” within a short time frame saying that such cases should be decided within three months.

Police Inspector Bernard Charles Spiteri led the prosecution.

Magistrate Joe Mifsud presided over the court.