Stolen sewing machine recovered as police search for firearm unravels

A court has been told how a police search of the home of a man who had allegedly threatened to shoot his wife during an argument, did not find any firearms – but did turn up a stolen sewing machine

Matthew Agius
7 September 2017, 5:30pm
This emerged as police Inspectors Chantelle Casha and Hubert Cini arraigned a 48 year-old man from Paola on charges of threatening and insulting his wife and breaching the peace in an incident, which occurred yesterday morning.

Inspector Casha told magistrate Josette Demicoli how the wife had gone to the police station claiming that her husband had threatened to shoot her and then himself. “She said that this was not the first time that this had happened,” added the inspector. 

The wife had left the matrimonial home for a domestic violence shelter, where a social worker had suggested that she go to the police.

But police officers who carried out a meticulous search of the man's home found no trace of any firearms, said the inspector. What they did find was a large sewing machine, that had recently been stolen from a neighbour.

Confronted with this, the man claimed to have recovered the machine from someone and was waiting for its owner to return home in order to figure out how to transfer the heavy and unwieldy object across the adjoining roofs and avoid the stairs.

The man was subsequently also charged with stealing the sewing machine, damaging third party property and handling stolen goods. In view of previous convictions, he was additionally charged with recidivism.

The accused's court-appointed lawyer, Yanika Bugeja, filed a plea of not guilty and requested bail. Inspector Casha argued that the threat of tampering with evidence was a serious one and that it was not the first time that the woman had been forced to leave the house and seek refuge elsewhere.

Inspector Hubert Cini, also prosecuting, added that the couple's elderly neighbour, who lives alone could easily be manipulated to give false testimony.

But the biggest obstacle to bail was that the accused and the alleged victim lived in the same residence, albeit on different floors.

“After she filed the report we had talked and patched up our differences...I gave her upstairs...” chimed in the accused, when this was pointed out.

Inspector Casha informed the court that she had checked with the victim after the accused had first made this claim and found that no such reconciliation had taken place.

The defence explained that the threatening words had been uttered whilst the man had been angry because his 20 year-old daughter was planning to marry a man who is currently in prison. “He was never going to shoot anyone,” said Bugeja, who pointed out that the man had no ties to any registered or illegal weapons.

“So much so that the woman had returned home afterwards.”

“I have never so much as touched her,” added the accused, prodding his shoulder.

Although the accused's daughter offered to put him up in her apartment, pending proceedings, the court denied bail at this stage because she lived in the same area as the alleged victim.

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