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Man charged over violent attack on Somali man in Gozo as crowd cheered

Friday July 30, 2021

A man, who allegedly punched and threw a Somali national into the sea to the cheers of a crowd of onlookers at Mgarr harbour days ago, was denied bail upon his arraignment on Thursday.

Deelian Mifsud, a 21-year old Xewkija resident, pleaded not guilty when arraigned before the Magistrates’ Court in Gozo, charged with his alleged involvement in the violent episode that took place on July 18 at around 1:00am.

A social media post by a person who happened to witness the violence described how a gang of some 15 men had turned upon the Somali man, spurred on by a cheering crowd from nearby catering establishments.

At one point, a ‘hero’ had allegedly pushed aside a dustbin, moved a table and punched the victim, throwing him into the sea, as the crowd roared in apparent approval.

A group of people intervened to break up the violence, assisting the Somali man, who had been treated “like a dog”, and alerting the police.

Footage of the incident, was referred to by prosecuting Inspector Josef Gauci during Thursday’s arraignment.

A report of the incident had reached the police who, after observing the published footage, had tracked down the suspect aggressor.
'No racism'

Mifsud was charged with attempted grievous bodily harm, causing his alleged victim slight injuries, damaging the man’s Apple IPhone, breaching the public peace and also breaching the terms of a probation order delivered in October by the Criminal Court.

He was also charged with relapsing.

His lawyer, Jean Paul Grech, stated in court that there was no element of racism behind the allegations.

When making submissions on bail, the lawyer argued further that footage of the incident had been preserved, thus reducing the risk of tampering with evidence.

However the prosecution objected, not only in view of the nature of the charges but also because civilians were still to testify and the fact that the accused had a tainted criminal record.

In light of those objections the court, presided over by magistrate Simone Grech, turned down the request and remanded the youth in custody.

Lawyer Franco Debono appeared parte civile.


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