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Malta – Gambian gets €19,000 compensation after robbery of his wages

A court in Malta has this Thursday fined and sentenced to jail three robbers for dragging Lamin Jammeh, a Gambian migrant construction worker behind a car and fleeing with his wages. John Mifsud, 45, was jailed for 10 years, Noel Borg, 40, was jailed for seven years and Leanne Chalbi, 32, was sentenced to six years in prison.

Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech, presiding the case, also ordered Mifsud to pay €10,000, Borg €7,000 and Chalbi €2,000 in compensation after the victim was physically assaulted.

The three stole a suitcase belonging to Lamin Jammeh hailed from Gambia. The theft of the suitcase, containing around €4,000 in wages for several workers took place on 22 November 2018. Malta Police investigations had revealed that two men and a woman had made their way into Jammeh’s residence – a garage previously used as a stable – in Marsa, which was shared between six people. They tried to steal the man’s suitcase.

Jammeh had resisted with all his might, refusing to let go of the car. He ended up being dragged around 60 metres from the point where the aggression had started in Triq is-Serkin.

Narrating his ordeal, Lamin Jammeh told the court that he had just arrived home from work and was washing himself when someone knocked on his door. He opened to find Borg, Mifsud and Chalbi. Borg asked him if he wanted to buy a mobile phone, whilst Chalbi slipped inside. Politely declining the offer, Jammeh asked the trio to leave but they refused. When he threatened to call the police, Borg started to punch him in the face, damaging his teeth.

Chalbi snatched his suitcase and ran outside with it, while Borg and Mifsud beat the man mercilessly. He managed to escape and ran to the car where Chalbi had sat down on the passenger seat. The men followed him and continued to beat him as he grabbed on to the passenger side door to stop the car from driving off. But drive off they did, dragging the man along whilst punching him. His left leg went under the one of the wheels.

Jammeh suffered wounds to his left thigh and leg and called the police after the robbers escaped with the car. Of the stolen €4,000 stolen, €1,500 belonged to Jammeh with the rest belonging to his friends. They were his wages from his work on a construction site. The three assailants were arrested separately, with Borg giving himself up to the police.

The car driver, Mifsud, was found guilty of grievous bodily harm, the court noting that there was no doubt that his intention was to maim the victim. “A person who wants to cause no damage does not drive off with a person… hanging off the door, half inside the passenger side,” the court said.

Mifsud, who was also convicted of dangerous driving, also had a long record of drug and theft crimes, said the court. Chalbi had likewise failed to learn from several previous opportunities given to her by the courts, ruled the magistrate.

The court took into account the testimony of a probation officer who explained that Borg had started using drugs at a young age, but had been clean for 15 years and was working at Caritas. He had relapsed after the death of his mother.

But Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech said that “this had to be weighed against Borg’s very serious crime which she said, revealed a cold indifference to other’s suffering. His actions clearly showed that until he had truly rehabilitated himself, his place was not in society, which should be protected from such “inhuman cruel and callous actions” that the accused was capable of exercising on persons who had nothing to their name but the fruits of their hard work“.

Neither was Borg a first-time offender, noted the magistrate, and he had done nothing to compensate his victim for the damage he suffered. His intentions were lacking in true remorse, said the court, adding that the trauma of the events Jammeh suffered would not be easy for him to overcome.

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