Updated at 11.27am with police statement
A man caught on video kicking in the door of a Sliema high street store in broad daylight has been identified and will face charges, the police said in a statement on Saturday.
The police statement came just hours after a group of gender equality NGOs had slammed the force for its apparent inaction following the incident.
The incident happened on Monday in Bisazza Street, when a man kicked in the door of a store and then stormed inside in broad daylight, as pedestrians looked on in horror.
A video clip of the incident went viral in the following days.
Nothing was believed to have come of the incident, with police sources saying that neither the shop nor owner woman who was the alleged target of the intruder’s ire were willing to press charges.
That prompted anger among a group of gender equality NGOs, who said the man had been out to “attack his partner at her place of work”.
In a statement issued late on Friday, they noted that by law, police can charge people with domestic violence even if the victim is not willing to file a complaint.
“Time and time again we hear of women complaining about how the police have refused to take their report, failed to investigate and/or never issued charges pertaining to their case,” they said. “Given the lack of action in this case, when there is clear evidence of domestic violence, confirms further their stories”.
Domestic violence, they said, was a matter of public concern.
“Shrugging off the matter by simply claiming that no one came forward or was reluctant to speak does not suffice,” the NGOs said as they called on police to act, and for government to investigate and explain the decision if they did not do so.
The statement was issued by Association for Equality, Dar Merhba Bik Foundation, Fondazzjoni Sebh, Malta Confederation of Women Organisations, Malta Association of Women in Business, Men Against Violence, St. Jeanne Antide Foundation and the Women’s Rights Foundation.
‘We have pressed charges’ – police
On Saturday morning, the police categorically denied claims that they had done nothing.
They acknowledged that the shop owner had declined to press charges following the “minimal” damage to his shop and said the domestic violence victim had not wanted to cooperate with police or identify her aggressor.
“After various investigations, the aggressor was identified and charges have been filed against him,” the statement said.
No further details were provided.
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