Man remanded in custody over Luqa arson

Accused in Luqa arson remanded in custody in view of his criminal record 

A man has been remanded in custody over an alleged arson attack on a residence in Luqa in December last year.

Before magistrate Rachel Montebello this morning, 45-year-old Alan Brown of Pietà was accused of voluntarily setting fire to a residence when there was a person inside and criminal damage.

Inspectors Mario Xiberras and Hubert Cini accused the unemployed man of having set alight a potted plant near a house in Triq il-Wilga, Luqa on 19 December last year between 3am-5am. The front door of the house subsequently caught fire. At least one person was inside the house at the time of the alleged arson.

Lawyer Martha Mifsud, appointed as legal aid to the man, did not contest the validity of the arrest. Brown pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Inspector Xiberras told the court police and court experts had established that the fire had been started deliberately.

The fire was put out by the occupants. Less than €250 in damages were suffered.

Bail was requested. The damage inflicted was minimal and the accused had collaborated fully with the police and had indicated third parties. His mother, aged over 70, needed him to take care of her, they said.

Inspector Xiberras objected to bail as the investigation was still ongoing. The prosecution also requested a ban on the publication of the circumstances of the crime, in particular about the details of the investigations which led to the accused.

The court, after taking into account the law and the fact that the investigations are still underway, upheld the request for the ban and prohibited the publication of the circumstances which led to the arrest of the accused, as well as the particular facts of which investigations are being made.

The accused was remanded in custody in view of his criminal record and the particular circumstances of the case, due to the fear of the accused interfering or tampering with evidence, amongst others.

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