A man behind a string of armed hold-ups has been jailed for three years and ordered to undergo drug rehabilitation.
David Scicluna, 34 from Marsascala, had been arrested last July following a series of armed holdups which had taken place over a period of around six weeks.
Scicluna had been charged with having committed the armed robberies, holding his victims against their will, being in possession of a knife without the necessary police licence as well as with being a recidivist.
The first hold-up had taken place on June 16 at a mini market chain store at Santa Luċija, followed two days later by another armed robbery at a self-service store at Tarxien. His last target before his arrest was another mini market at Tarxien which he robbed on July 27 .
The man had pleaded guilty upon his arraignment and presiding magistrate Gabriella Vella had ordered a pre-sentencing report which was to serve as guidance not only in determining the appropriate punishment, but also to address the accused’s problematic background.
He was also placed under a temporary supervision order.
A psychiatrist and a probation officer, tasked with assessing the accused, reported that the man had an acute drug problem, as well as other personal difficulties.
In its judgment, the court observed that the accused was combating a drug problem, which he could not overcome single-handedly, together with other problems which resulted in an “unruly character.” It noted that he had committed the offences six months after being released from prison after serving time for similar crimes.
In its considerations on punishment, the court took into account the accused’s early guilty plea, the fact that most of the stolen cash – aside from €350 worth of mombile top-up vouchers- had been retrieved as well as the man’s personal problems.
As the crimes included an element of violence, the law did not permit the court to mitigate the man’s punishment. The weapon used by the accused was not exhibited and therefore could not be forfeited, noted the court.
The three-year effective jail term, coupled with a treatment order, was intended to serve, not only as retribution, but also to enable the accused to address his many problems in the hope of finally guiding him towards “a stable life”, the court declared, urging the Director of Prisons to offer all assistance so that the accused might embark upon a rehabilitation programme.
Inspectors Joseph Mercieca and Shawn Pawney prosecuted. Lawyer Arthur Azzopardi was defence counsel.
Original article found on The Malta Independent