Convicted of violent indecent assault; sentence suspended on appeal

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

A convicted man’s 18-month prison sentence has been suspended for 4 years on appeal due to being in his 20s at the time of the crime. He had been found guilty of violently and indecently assaulting a woman after stalking her and then ripping her clothes off.

Jurgen Zahra, 28 from Zejtun, had been jailed in 2017 for the assault he had committed on the 26th of June 2011. While allegedly driving under the influence, he had stopped to attack a Hungarian woman while she was walking from Paceville to San Ġwann.

The man had driven slowly alongside her while attempting to talk to her and at one point even grabbed her hand, despite her attempts to shrug him off. She then attempted to run away towards the playground in Birkirkara Road, while crying for help. The attacker managed to chase her down, beat her up, and tear off her clothes. The assault ended when passers-by intervened.

The Appeals Court concluded that it agreed that the young man is guilty. However, it did not agree with the sentence he had been handed down. The prison term was suspended due to the fact that Zahra was young at the time, and had no criminal record. However, it was concluded that the case was an extremely serious one since an innocent woman had been sexually attacked for no reason.