Court denies bail to pair arraigned on drugs charges

Two men have appeared in court on charges of aggravated possession of cannabis after police stopped and searched them near a notorious drug-dealing hotspot.

Matthew Agius
1 September 2017, 3:30pm
Last updated on 1 September 2017, 3:34pm
Nasir Fuqule Warsame, 21, from Somalia and Yemane Teklom Zerislase, 26, from Eritrea appeared in separate arraignments before magistrate Gabriella Vella this morning.

Inspector Justine Grech, who is prosecuting both cases, explained that both men had been stopped by police yesterday and found to be carrying cannabis grass and resin. Cocaine was also found in Warsame's possession.

Warsame, who lives at the Marsa Open Centre had been taken into custody after police officers from the Rapid Intervention Unit found 5 pieces of cannabis resin on his person. The court was told that he had tried to hide another bag containing around 17g of cannabis, together with a weighing scale.

Defence lawyer Martin Fenech requested that the man be released on bail, as he was presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Inspector Grech objected to bail on the grounds that the only identification the man had was a refugee number issued by the Refugee Commissioner and that he had no fixed residential address.

The court denied bail.

In addition to the aggravated cannabis possession charge Zerislase, who told the court that he lived in a garage in Rabat, was also accused of committing an offence during the operative period of a suspended sentence that he had received for violent indecent assault and theft last year.

Grech explained that Zerislase had been found near Tiger Bar in Marsa with 13 pieces of what police suspect to be cannabis, weighing approximately 12g in total. She pre-empted the defence's bail request, pointing out that his ID card showed that he lived in Hal Far but he actually admitted to residing in a garage.

The man, who said he was a casual worker pleaded not guilty to the charges. Defence lawyer Martin Fenech entered a plea of not guilty but did not make a request for bail.

Both men were remanded in custody.

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