Customers' testimony nails Hamrun drug dealer

The court believed the testimony of four witneses who identified 40-year-old Martin Debono of Hamrun as a drug trafficker known as 'Il-Boccu' and sentenced him to 33 months imprisonment

Matthew Agius
31 August 2017, 2:07pm
A drug dealer has been jailed for two years and nine months on the basis of testimony delivered by four of his former customers.

Martin Debono, 40, from Hamrun was found guilty of trafficking heroin aggravated by the fact that the drugs were sold in close proximity to a school, youth centre, or social club. He was additionally convicted of relapsing and breaching conditions imposed by a court in a previous sentence handed down in 2008.

Debono had, in the past, been convicted of aggravated theft and heroin possession on several occasions. He also has convictions for attempted theft and willful damage and falsification of documents.

But several fines, two conditional discharges, two probation orders, a suspended sentence and three effective prison sentences had done little to change Debono's criminal trajectory.

Debono was arrested in January 2012 after police officers found a bag with a brown dust during a search of his vehicle. Also found in Debono’s possession was an empty cigarette packet containing two pieces of foil that had been stained brown - an indicator of heroin use.

No illicit substances were found at Debono’s residence and he refused to answer questions during his interrogation.

This counted for naught, however after Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras heard four former clients identify the accused. One female former drug addict who had used heroin from the age of 16 until she was 23, along with another one of Debono's clients, had told the court that they would purchase heroin from a dealer known as ‘Il-Boccu’ or ‘Il-Bucc’, however none of them had ever identified the dealer as Martin Debono. 

That changed in March 2012, when a man was arrested in possession of a sachet containing a brown substance and seven new syringes. The man also told police that he had purchased the substance from someone known as ‘Il-Boccu’, who he later revealed was called Martin Debono. He went on to identify Debono in court.

The witness also provided the mobile number of the accused, and phone records established that Debono and the witness had contacted one another on 17 separate occasions throughout  May 2011, as well as having exchanged a number of text messages.

A fourth client also identified ‘il-Boccu’ and said that he had bought drugs from him on three separate occasions.

The court found Debono guilty of the charges and sentenced him to two years and nine months in prison, while also ordering him to pay a fine of €2,750 and €955 in court expenses.

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