Man charged with trafficking drugs in Balluta square granted bail

30-year-old student denies trafficking drugs after search on his person yielded ecstasy, cannabis grass and cannabis resin

An Algerian man has denied trafficking drugs in Balluta square.

Houssem Eddine Debchi, 30, a student residing at St. Paul’s Bay, was arraigned before magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo this afternoon, after he was arrested in Balluta Square at 10pm on November 1 by police from the Drugs Squad.

He had been spotted carrying out a suspicious transaction, the court was told and a subsequent search of his person retrieved €460 in cash and 3 types of drugs: ecstasy, cannabis grass and cannabis resin.

The person arrested had admitted to having sold drugs to the police, said inspector Marshal Mallia, and his mobile phone contained a lot of WhatsApp messages negotiating drug deals for all four types of drug found on his person.

The messages were received and sent up to the day of his arrest, he said.

Debchi pleaded not guilty and requested bail.

The prosecution initially objected to bail because the address indicated on his residence permit didn’t match that where he told the police he was currently living.

The objection was subsequently withdrawn after defence lawyer Franco Debono pointed out to the court that “it was such a minor thing that the bail decree itself usually says if you change address you must inform the police, not even the court.”

The court granted the man bail on condition that the accused does not commit another voluntary offence, report at police station every day and observes a curfew.

Bail was secured with a deposit of €2000 and personal guarantee of €25,000 court.

Lawyers Franco Debono, Amadeus Cachia and Francesca Zarb were defence counsel.

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