Bail confirmed for man accused of attempted murder, after AG files appeal

Judge makes Marlon Zarb's bail conditions harsher

A man on bail for attempted murder has avoided re-arrest, after the AG appealed his being granted bail. The Criminal Court, however, also ruled that his bail conditions should be made harsher.

Madame justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera presided over the application filed by the Attorney General for the re-arrest of Marlon Zarb, this afternoon.

32-year-old Zarb from St. Paul’s Bay stands charged with the attempted murder of Bradley Carabott, whom he allegedly stabbed in Marsa on 12 April.

Zarb had been arraigned last month before Magistrate Yana Micallef Stafrace, also accused of causing grievous injury and carrying a weapon without a police licence, breaching a suspended sentence and disturbing the public peace.

At a 6pm hearing on Wednesday, Madame Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera was told that that there were difficulties in tracing the accused.

Inspector Andy Rotin had testified to this during the arraignment, said the prosecutors.

For the Office of the Attorney General, Lawyer Etienne Savona, prosecuting together with lawyer Anthony Vella, argued that the accused had been difficult to trace and that this had been testified to by the inspector in the arraignment. The charges are very serious and is accused of breaching a condition of a suspended sentence, he said. “Our greatest fear is that he goes into hiding in Malta.”

When Zarb went to the police station on 13 April, he learned that the victim was in danger of dying. The circumstances changed and he has motivation to go into hiding now, explained the lawyer.

But defence counsel Franco Debono said he expected more in an appeal from a bail decree. He emphasised the inequality of arms in that the AG can appeal from a bail decree and a defendant cannot.

“The charges relate to the night between 12 and 13 April. His statement was taken on 13 April. So he went of his own accord to the police station the next morning. I cannot understand why the prosecution are accusing him of this,” argued the lawyer. “It cannot be interpreted that he delayed at all.”

Zarb had been on bail, but the judge noted that so far three addresses had been mentioned in connection with the case and asked why. “His charges say he lives in St Paul’s Bay. His girlfriend lives in Bormla. He lives in Hamrun and that is the address specified in the bail decree,” replied Debono.

Lawyer Anthony Vella argued against the man’s release, saying that the investigation had progressed and that the alleged weapon had been found. “Therefore there are new witnesses to testify,” he submitted.

Debono said that the magistrate presiding the compilation of evidence had been made aware of this and had remarked about the absence of a weapon, arguing that it should be exhibited.

“Over 2 or 3 sittings, the prosecution had the opportunity to summon its witnesses. These new ‘civilian witnesses’ weren’t even at the scene,” argued the lawyer, adding that “it wasn’t apparent that the magistrate was capricious in granting bail.”

“As far as I’m aware, my client was on bail, living with his mother and was summoned at Hamrun, while obeying his bail conditions.”

Debono listed several recent serious cases where bail was granted. The judge sternly replied that every case was different.

Savona interjected, adding that the AG had not been allowed to make submissions during Zarb’s arraignment.

Some time later, in a decree delivered from chambers, the judge added €5000 to his bail deposit requirement, bringing the total required to €6000. She also ordered him to sign the bail book twice daily instead of once.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Francesca Zarb were defence counsel.

Lawyers Anthony Vella and Etienne Savona appeared for the Attorney General’s office.