Man stands to lose €11,000 bail bond by repeatedly ignoring curfew

The man was released from arrest in 2019 after threatening a police officer, being in possession of a flick knife, carrying it in public without a permit and driving a car without a driving licence

A man stands to lose €11,000 as well as his freedom after admitting to breaching his bail conditions when mobile phone localisation data showed him to be outside, seven hours past curfew.

Gzira resident Mohamed Abdulmajeb Abungab, 23, from Libya, was accused of breaching his bail conditions after police noticed that his mobile phone localisation showed that he was out of his home in breach of the court-imposed restrictions - for hours at a stretch.

Abungab had been released from arrest in December 2019, a month after he was arrested for burglary, threatening a police officer, possession of a flick knife, carrying it in public without a permit, driving a car without a driving licence and relapsing.

His bail had been set at €11,000.

But despite the hefty deterrent, Inspector Joseph Xerri told magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech this afternoon that the man had been found in St Julians at 2 am on August 1st – well past his curfew.

Further investigations, using localisation data from his mobile phone showed that he would frequently breach his bail conditions. On one occasion, he was out past his curfew for seven hours at one go, said the inspector.

Magistrate Frendo Dimech explained that if pleading guilty it would be obligatory for her to seize his deposit.

His lawyer, Noel Bianco, argued that the man would occasionally share his mobile phone with others. He had gone out to celebrate Eid, however conceded the lawyer.

Abungab told the court that he wished to admit the charges, despite his lawyer explaining to him that he would lose his deposit and go to prison if he admitted.

The court said the law was clear: the breach of bail, for whatever the reason, meant that the confiscation of the deposit was mandatory. The term of incarceration could be varied, between a minimum and a maximum, but the deposit had to be seized, said the magistrate.

“Unfortunately, we ask for bail without then taking care of it” observed the court.

Abungab pleaded guilty. “I made a mistake and tried to make myself better. It can’t be helped,” he said.

The court said it would sentence the man on Thursday.

Bianco asked whether it was possible to have the man forfeit the guarantee but not revoke his release and requested bail pending sentencing, with the court refusing the latter request outright. “As the accused is accused precisely of breaching bail conditions, the court is not convinced of his trustworthiness.”

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