Bail for man charged with drug trafficking, possession of guns and underage sex

Court rules that ongoing police investigation is no reason to deny bail

A man who stands accused of having sex with a minor, trafficking cocaine, heroin and cannabis, and being in possession of a firearm and ammunition, has been released on bail.

Josef Zammit, 28, from Bormla was charged in May and had been in police custody since being denied bail on his arraignment.

He also stands accused of money laundering.

Zammit was arrested in the company of his 15-year-old girlfriend, allegedly whilst in possession of drugs and around €6,000 in cash.

More drug-related items, the firearm and cash were found by the police in later searches on two properties in Bormla.

Several witnesses testified during the man’s compilation of evidence, which continued despite the COVID-19 closure of the courts.

A request for bail was filed by his lawyers Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri.

Decreeing his request for bail this morning, Mr Justice Aaron Bugeja noted that the police had objected to the man’s release as there were still witnesses to be questioned, as well as due the man’s untrustworthy character.

His lawyers had argued that the fact that investigations were still underway was not a valid reason to deny a person bail.

Mr Justice Bugeja noted that the court of magistrates had handled the proceedings efficiently, but pointed out that there were legal mechanisms that come into play once criminal proceedings are filed by the police.

These mechanisms, which safeguarded the accused’s right to a fair trial were based on the presumption of innocence and could not be ignored, said the judge.

Zammit was released on bail against a deposit of €10,000 and a personal guarantee of €10,000. He was ordered to sign a bail book daily and observe a curfew. Additionally, he was barred from communicating in any manner with his father.

Inspectors Kevin Pulis, Roxanne Tabone and Lianne Bonello prosecuted.

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