Two charged with theft of gold choker worth €20,000

Two men have pleaded not guilty to stealing a gold choker worth over €20,000 and assaulting its owner

Two men have pleaded not guilty to stealing a gold choker worth over €20,000 and assaulting its owner.

Jake Camilleri, 22, from Sliema, and Massimo Fasanelli, 21 from Marsascala, were charged this afternoon over the violent theft which took place on 13 April in Fgura.

The men were accused of holding their victim against his will and slightly injuring him. They were also accused of destroying evidence linking them to the crime.

Fasanelli was separately accused of stealing a Toyota Hilux, which was used on the night of the robbery. The vehicle was stolen from the Tal-Balal area in March.

He was also accused of stealing cash from a petrol station in Swieqi in April, driving the vehicle without a licence or insurance, as well as possession of cannabis and cocaine.

Lawyer Roberto Montalto, appearing for the victim, told the court that the choker was currently in the hands of the police and would be returned to his client after its value was certified and the relative witnesses testify.

“Camilleri cooperated with investigators, had a perfectly clean criminal record, is young and trustworthy,” argued his lawyer Matthew Xuereb in his bail submissions.

But inspector Lydon Zammit, prosecuting, told the court that Camilleri had only cooperated initially as he was caught off guard by his arrest. “From then on, there was no more cooperation.”

Besides this, whilst under arrest, Camilleri had been sent messages by his sister, who told him that she was trying to make contact with the victim, who she had been with half an hour before the robbery.

On Friday morning, Camilleri’s Father had also attempted to make contact with the victim. Xuereb remarked that the victim, whose name cannot be published by court order, was recently posting “violent” content on social media, including songs with violent lyrics.

The prosecution also drew the attention of the court to the fact that the accused had attempted to remove their fingerprints and other traces from the vehicle they used before abandoning it in St. Julians.

Fasanelli’s criminal record raised serious doubts as to his trustworthiness, argued the prosecution when his lawyer, Charmaine Cherrett, also requested bail, which was denied by presiding magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit.

Camilleri’s bid for bail was successful, and he was released from arrest against a €500 deposit and a personal guarantee of €10,000. He was also ordered to observe a curfew and not approach Fgura and any prosecution witnesses.

Police inspectors Stephen Gulia, Sarah Zerafa and Lydon Zammit prosecuted.