Man in custody after being charged with Senglea shooting

The incident occured Sunday night after an argument broke out between the man and his girlfriend

The incident occurred at around 10pm last Sunday in Triq iz-Zewg Mini (Photo: CMRU)
The incident occurred at around 10pm last Sunday in Triq iz-Zewg Mini (Photo: CMRU)

A man has been charged after allegedly firing shots during an argument with his girlfriend on Sunday.

Melvin Debono, 29, from Paola was arrested on Sunday evening after he allegedly fired two shots from an unlicensed Walther P99 pistol during an argument in Senglea, according to the police.

The incident occurred at around 10pm in Triq iz-Zewg Mini.

In a statement issued after the shooting, the police said the man had fired at his girlfriend but missed his target and then fled the scene. District police quickly managed to track him down and arrest him.

The handgun was found inside Debono’s Mercedes. Police also found an iron truncheon and over €18,000 in cash in the vehicle. Magistrate Ian Farrugia is leading an inquiry into the shooting.

Arraigned this afternoon before magistrate Charmaine Galea, the man pleaded not guilty to charges which included possessing an unlicensed firearm, failing to inform the police that the weapon had come into his possession, carrying a firearm during the commission of an offence against the person, attacking the woman, making threats, discharging the firearm in an inhabited area and breaching bail. 

Inspector Clayton Camilleri – prosecuting together with Inspector Audrey Micallef - said that police had received a report of shots being fired in the street following an argument. Police went to the scene and surrounded the accused. Inside his car a handgun and €18700 in cash were found. A bullet casing was found at the scene, its projectile also being found embedded in a distant wall. The victim was not found at the scene and the police are yet to trace her, Camilleri said. 

The police were unable to serve her with a summons to appear as a witness.

Defence lawyers Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri, entered a not guilty plea and asked for bail.

Franco Debono pointed out that of the 11 charges, 5 were contraventions and 4 more are alternative to each other. “The other charges, we don’t even have injuries. We have attacking the woman, who suffered no injuries. Then there is the possession of a weapon …this is not an obstacle to bail.”

Debono said his client was prepared to obey every condition imposed by the court.

Inspector Camilleri objected to bail, arguing that the accused had fired shots in an inhabited area and that there were people who are yet to testify. “We didn’t exaggerate the charges,” he quipped.

The court at this stage, noting that one of the charges was a breach of bail conditions, and in view of the fact that the alleged victim has not yet spoken to the police and is yet to testify, denied bail.