SSRI Stories Note: The Physicians Desk Reference states that antidepressants can cause a craving for alcohol and can cause alcohol abuse. Also, the liver cannot metabolize the antidepressant and the alcohol
by John Paul Cordina – firstname.lastname@example.org
Court — 19 April 2010 — 12:45CEST
A man charged with the attempted murder of a policeman told police that he was drunk and on medication when the incident occurred, and did not intend to hurt the officer, a jury heard on Monday.
Kevin Attard, a 39-year-old Kalkara resident, started undergoing trial by jury after being charged with the attempted murder of PC Jonathan Farrugia in the small hours of April 26, 2003, at the St Julians police station.
According to the prosecution, Mr Attard reacted violently when he was refused entry at the Fuego nightclub in Paceville at around 0320h. Security guards called the police for assistance, but Mr Attard punched PC Andrew St John when he intervened, leading to his arrest.
He was taken to the police station, where PC Farrugia was on his own since his colleagues were out on assignment.
Mr Attard asked for permission to smoke, permission that was granted on condition that he remained at the station, but he nevertheless attempted to leave twice. On the second attempt, PC Farrugia ordered Mr Attard to get back inside, leading to an altercation in which the accused brought out a 3-inch pen knife and stabbed the police officer in the belly.
Two police officers entered the station soon after, and apprehended Mr Attard. Mr Farrugia was taken to St Luke’s Hospital, where his injury was certified not to be life-threatening, and was released on the following day.
Supt Martin Sammut, who was an inspector at the time, testified that in his statement to the police, Mr Attard acknowledged stabbing the officer and expressed regret. Mr Attard also said that he was drunk – even though he was not supposed to drink because he was on anti-depressants – and that he had no intention of hurting the constable. At the time, Mr Attard said that he was very nervous, as his underage daughter was pregnant.
The accused insisted that PC Farrugia was not alone in the station at the time, and said that he had just purchased the knife in his home town.
Mr Farrugia testified that when the accused arrived at the station, he appeared calm, but suddenly attacked him. He said that he was not aware that he had been stabbed, and thought the accused had grabbed a set of keys and punched him.
He said that he started shouting for help, and a police officer soon arrived to help him escort Mr Attard to the station cell. It was this police officer who informed him that he had been attacked with a knife, the constable said in Court.
Mr Attard was also charged with slightly injuring PC St John, damaging PC Farrugia’s uniform, the unlawful possession of a knife and with assaulting police officers with the aim of preventing them from carrying out their duty.
The uniform and the knife were presented as evidence to the jury, as was a blood-stained shirt.
Lawyer Lara Lanfranco is prosecuting on behalf of the Attorney General’s Office, while lawyers José Herrera and Veronique Dalli are representing Mr Attard.
The trial is being presided over by Judge Joseph Galea Debono.