There were dramatic scenes in court yesterday, when a man who drove over a police motorbike and threatened officers in Ħamrun allegedly tried to strangle himself after being denied bail.
Justin James Grima, 24, was hit with 12 charges, including attempting to seriously injure a police officer, disobeying police orders and threatening public officials.
He is pleading not guilty, but has been denied bail, with the court recognising the gravity of the offences.
Inspector Pierguido Saliba from the traffic branch testified that a police sergeant had spotted Grima driving a Mitsubishi Shogun with tinted windows, stopped him in his tracks and ordered him to follow him to the police garage.
However, Grima dropped off a passenger, performed a quick U-turn and fled the scene. The officer eventually caught up with him and tried to turn off his car, after Grima refused to do so himself. It was at this point that Grima allegedly grabbed the officer’s arm and warned him: “My cousin already drove over one of you and I won’t mind running over two of you.”
This was a reference to his teenage cousin Liam Debono, who last year ran over PC Simon Schembri in a horrific incident that forced the police officer to get his arm amputated.
Saliba said that after threatening the officer, Grima made a move to run over him, knocking down his motorbike in the process. He was instantly arrested and escorted to the police lock-up in Floriana, where he allegedly tried to harm himself.
Grima’s lawyers Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia requested that their client be granted bail on the grounds that he’s innocent until proven guilty, but the prosecutors warned that this was a serious case and that the court should send a strong message across that police orders must be obeyed.
Magistrate Simone Grech’s decision to deny Grima bail sparked commotion in the courtroom, with the accused allegedly insisting that he would rather die than go to jail. According to ONE News, he tried to strangle himself but was immediately contained by officers.
People close to Grima were also heard threatening the police officers, and police eventually had to escort the magistrate out of court for safety reasons.
Featured Image Photo: Screenshot from ONE News
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