Tunisian caught stealing redhanded from Paceville bar, sentenced to five years’ prison

Mahdi Ouerfelli, a 25-year-old Tunisian, was sentenced to five years in prison after he was found guilty of stealing a young woman’s handbag from a bar in Paceville. He was also given a two year suspended sentence after he was found guilty of being a relapser and breaching his bail conditions on another case of theft which took place in November 2013.

The case took place on 29 June 2014 at 3.30pm when the accused was at a bar with another man and stole the young woman’s handbag which was on a shelf.  However, he was caught in the act by the woman’s friend who, as soon as he realized the bag was no longer in its place, turned around and found the accused with the handbag in his hands. He immediately grabbed it from him, and the accused and his friend fled the scene. They were stopped by bouncers after the woman and her friend began to shout, “thief, thief”. In her handbag she had a mobile worth €700 and €70 in cash.

In Court, it was stated that the accused had escaped from police custody after they removed his handcuffs because he complained that they were too tight. He was caught shortly afterwards in the front terrace of a major Paceville hotel, where he was trying to hide, crouched on the ground and in possession of a taser gun.

The Court, presided over by Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech, noted that the crimes for which he was already found guilty were not very different from the ones of which he was currently being accused. She said that this showed that the accused had not learned from his mistakes and the opportunity given to him by the Court had served for nothing.

In the the light of this, he was sentenced to five years, after the suspended sentence he was given in November 2013 was changed and came into effect.