Not a prayer: lawyer brandishes holy picture in reluctant bail submissions

His client was arraigned on charges relating to theft of tools from an Qormi building site

Two men have been remanded in custody after being charged with several offences related to the theft of tools from a building site in Qormi yesterday night.

Inspector Roderick Agius arraigned unemployed Joseph Galea, 30 from Zebbug and furniture mover Emanuel Degabriele, 31, from Attard before magistrate Yana Micallef Stafrace.

On 14 January, the police, acting on a tip off, had found a Kia Avella near the construction site with the stolen tools stashed inside. The men were found nearby, trying to hide, said the inspector, adding that they were out in breach of their bail curfews, explained Inspector Roderick Agius.

The men were today charged with having committed the aggravated theft of the tools on 14 January, as well as handling stolen goods, recidivism and breaching bail conditions.

Lawyers Mario Mifsud, for Galea and Charles Mercieca, for Degabriele, entered pleas of not guilty.

Degabriele had claimed to be on his way to a clinic due to chest pain, said Merceica, adding that the police had taken him there and that the man had medical certificates to prove this.

“Degabriele is saying that he had nothing to do with the crime. There was no evidence linking him to it. The only reason he was arrested was because he was a friend of the other accused,” submitted Mercieca, arguing that he had scrupulously obeyed his bail conditions.

The court, however, denied bail to Degabriele.

After arguing with his client about whether or not to request bail due to the man's persistent offending, Galea’s lawyer, Mario Mifsud reluctantly asked the court for bail, half-jokingly saying that he was going to read a prayer instead of making submissions, while brandishing a holy picture. Mifsud, however, then angrily pointed out that the inspector had omitted to mention to the court that Galea had fully cooperated with the police, asking the prosecution to be fair to his client.

The court observed that Galea had no fixed address and denied bail to him too.

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