Anan Bismark, a resident of St Paul’s Bay, has been arraigned in Court and charged with having stolen a purse on Saturday to the detriment of Susan Graham, at a shop in St Paul’s Bay. Inspector Clayton Camilleri also charged accused with having tried to escape from custody yesterday, failing to obey orders and disrupting the authorities in the performance of their duties.
Inspector Camilleri stated that the only document in accused’s possession was a residence permit for Italy which entitled him to stay in Malta for three months, not work, and go back to Italy. The Inspector added that accused had stolen the purse, taken the money inside it and then handed in the purse to the Police. The Inspector further stated that according to the victim, the purse contained 100 euro, whereas accused stated the purse contained 75.50 euro.
Inspector Camilleri explained that it resulted from Police investigations, including security camera footage, that the person who had taken the purse to the Police Station was the same person who had stolen it. The Inspector added that when accused was taken to his residence to collect his personal effects, accused feared that he would be sent to prison, and had tried to escape. The Police officer who chased after him ended up falling down the stairs in order to apprehend him, and had been injured.
Legal aid lawyer Yanika Bugeja expressed doubts about the second charge, as accused was not in a place defined at law as a place of custody. The law defines only a Police lock-up, prison or a place of treatment or hospital as places of custody for the purposes of a person being charged with the crime of escape from custody.
Prosecution withdrew the second charge, and accused stated he was employed in the distribution of goods, and admitted to the theft charge and to not obeying Police orders. Defence Counsel stated that accused had admitted at an early stage and had returned the purse to the Police so that the victim would not lose the documents in the purse.
The Court, Magistate Marseann Farrugia presiding, found accused guilty and handed down a month’s imprisonment suspended for one year. Inspector Camilleri stated that accused would immediately be deported to Italy.