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UPDATED: Man accused of trying to run over two Police officers begs not to be sent to jail

Wearing the same clothes he was arrested in four hours before, and duly handcuffed, 24 year old Justin James Grima from Tarxien was charged with having tried to run over two policemen and causing them serious injuries, threatening them, driving dangerously and damaging a police motor-cycle. He is also charged with causing a commotion at Police Headquarters in Floriana following his arrest.

Appearing before Magistrate Simone Grech, Inspectors Pierre Guido Saliba and Matthew Galea explained how on Saturday afternoon, during a routine patrol in St. Joseph High Road, Hamrun, a police sergeant noticed a car with dark tinted glass. They explained that the Sergeant had asked the accused to follow him to the police garage, but suddenly Grima effected a U-turn, dropped off a girl who was a passenger in his car and drove off. The sergeant managed to intercept him further along the road and ordered him to switch off his car.

Inspector Saliba said that when Grima refused to obey the order, the sergeant called for assistance. A constable from the Traffic Unit arrived on the scene and parked his motor cycle in front of the accused’s car. It was here that the sergeant told his colleague to move away from in front of the vehicle. In court, the Sergeant explained that as soon as he put his hands inside the accused’s car to try to take away the key, the accused grabbed his hand and said, “my cousin has already run over one of you, I have no qualms running over two of you.” He then proceeded to drive in their direction, hitting the motorcycle.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia requested bail arguing that this was a simple case of a tinted glass window which had escalated in a matter of minutes as a result of the accused panicking. He said that one could not compare the two cases as here no one was injured and the only damage sustained was to a motor-vehicle.

The prosecution objected because of the seriousness of the case and explained that Justin James Grima already had similar charges with the police and was a relapser. The Prosecution stressed the need for a clear message to be sent that police orders are there to be obeyed.

The Court turned down the request for bail and ordered that the accused be taken to Corradino Correctional Facility.

“I don’t want to go to jail –  I would rather die” – the accused

As soon as Grima emerged from the courtroom, he created a commotion in the corridor and began shouting that he does not want to go to jail but would rather die.  It was at this point that he started banging his head against the wall, and his relatives began to threaten the Police.  The Police officers brought the situation under control, calmed the accused down and escorted him out of Court. Because of this incident, Magistrate Simone Grech asked the Police to escort her out of the Courthouse.

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