Two charged with retaining head of vandalised statue, granted bail

Police charge teenagers over retaining the broken head of a St Anthony of Padova statue vandalised earlier this week

Police released a picture of the head of the statue, which was recovered on Saturday
Police released a picture of the head of the statue, which was recovered on Saturday

Two young men were granted bail on Sunday after pleading not guilty to retaining protected property.

The teenagers, Michael Olaf Zandstra, 18 from Australia and residing in Marsascala, and Hugo Bouteouw, 19 from France and also residing in Marsascala, were arraigned in front of Magistrate Rachel Montebello earlier today.

Upon their arraignment Inspector Saviour Baldacchino declared that the accused were not the persons who broke the statute. 

Footage showed others, who are still being investigated, broke the statute. 

However, one accused found the broken head, picked it up and took it home and the other accused painted over the head. 

Defence requested bail, and was granted against a deposit of €2,000 and personal guarantee of €24,000 with an obligation to sign at police station three times a week. 

Dr Stefano Filletti and Dr Kathleen Grima appeared for Zandstra, while Dr Fransina Abela appeared legal aid for Boutroue.

The youths were arrested on Saturday, with police saying that after days of investigation, the Cultural Patrimony section of the Major Crimes Unit had identified a 19-year old man from France, an 18-year old man from the United Kingdom and a 17-year old Maltese girl as the alleged culprits.

Police investigations discovered that the vandalism had taken place on October 6 at around 9:30pm.

The statue, located on the parvis of a chapel dedicated to St. Anthony of Padova had been damaged by having its head torn off, together with the head and arms of a statue of the baby Jesus.

The statues fall under the Cultural Patrimony Act.

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