The Gozo court yesterday handed down a two-year suspended sentence to a 37-year-old man from Qormi I had the displeasure of meeting earlier this year. He harangued me in the street in the presence of my wife, my daughter, and her friend, and not having had his fill of hatred he looked up my phone number and called me to continue his angry rant.

The court found him guilty of insulting me and of causing me to fear he would harm me. And the court acquitted him of misusing his phone to commit a crime because a recent amendment to the law has removed the applicability of the technology misuse law to insults or spoken threats.

He got a warning, a restraining order to keep away from me for 2 years, and, something which I thought was especially useful, anger management therapy for the next 2 years as well.

I hope for two things. The first is never to meet this gentleman again. I have no interest in knowing him and am happy to add him to the list of people various courts have had to order to stay away from me on pain of harsher penalties.

The second is that this court decision helps people understand that there’s no open season on figures of hate identified for lynching by the Labour Party’s TV station and its satellites. Just because Karl Stagno Navarra or One News or Emmanuel Cuschieri dehumanise someone and represent them as punch bags does not give their viewers a license to treat government critics (and their children) as something less than human.

We can debate until kingdom come what consequences are appropriate for this sort of uncivilised behaviour. I’m just delighted that there are consequences. I am grateful to the Gozo police who investigated and prosecuted the case and to a court that reaffirmed a simple principle: it’s not OK to shout at, insult, and threaten people just because you’ve been told not to like them.