Former priest pleads guilty to charges of theft from convent, sentenced to prison

Representational image. Source: Wikipedia

Former parish priest of the Augustinian parish in Valletta, Fr Deo Debono, pleaded guilty to the charges of stealing of artworks from his convent.

While all the stolen items were recovered, the court sentenced him to prison for two years and ordered him to pay €9,000 as fine.

Investigation began after paintings went missing from the convent in Valletta. The cleric has been charged with aggravated theft and other charges.

When the news of investigation surfaced, Debono was removed from parish priest by Archbishop Charles Scicluna. He was also barred from celebrating mass in public.

“This is not a small crime that you’re getting fined €20, and it’s like nothing ever happened,” the magistrate told Debono after he pleaded guilty for the crime.

Reportedly, the former priest acted calm throughout the proceedings and reiterated his guilty plea even after being told that he could be sent to prison.

The magistrate ordered the media out of the courtroom when the submissions were to be made for punishment, citing section 531 of the criminal code.