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Man charged with assaulting bus driver

A man charged with assaulting a bus driver has been remanded in custody after denying the accusations

matthew_agius
Matthew Agius
21 April 2017, 4:44pm
The bus driver suffered slight injuries in the knife attack
The bus driver suffered slight injuries in the knife attack
A man charged with assaulting a bus driver has been remanded in custody after denying the accusations.

Omar Joseph Trabelsi, 29, from Kirkop, appeared before duty magistrate Grazio Mercieca this morning, accused of attempting to grievously injure the driver in the 16 April assault.

The bus driver suffered slight injuries in the assault, which reportedly took place a few hours after he had pointed out that Trabelsi was trying to use an expired bus ticket – something he is reported to have done on several previous occasions.

Inspectors Jeffrey Scicluna and Priscilla Caruana Lee charged the man with attempted grievous bodily harm, slight bodily harm, harassing and threatening the bus driver, criminal damage, assaulting and threatening him and disobeying the lawful orders of a public servant. He was also charged with relapsing.

Trabelsi, who has previous convictions for petty crimes, pleaded not guilty during his arraignment before magistrate Grazio Mercieca today.

Lawyer Yanika Camilleri asked for bail, but this was objected to by the prosecution, who argued that the accused was a frequent user of public transport and could easily bump into the driver again.

Camilleri told the court that there was only one witness – the bus driver. “I don't think the accused should be denied bail just for one witness who was released from hospital yesterday and could have been summoned to testify today,” she argued.

The lawyer reminded the court that under the Criminal Code, persons under arrest could only be denied bail if certain criteria are fulfilled. The accused is Maltese, lives in Malta, will not leave Malta and was prepared to provide the necessary guarantees and observe the conditions imposed by the court, she said.

A protection order would suffice to ensure that the sole prosecution witness, who is also the victim, is not approached, the defence argued.

The court, however, denied bail in view of the risk of the accused tampering with evidence. In the dock, Trabelsi broke down in dry sobs at the news.

matthew_agius
Court reporter Matthew Agius is a Legal Procurator and Commissioner for Oaths. Prior to re...