Man involved in gangland tit-for-tat charged with keeping unlicenced firearm in car

The man was already on bail for an alleged arson attack on the home of Deniro Magri in 2018

An anonymous tip-off has led to the discovery of an unlicensed firearm in the boot of a man’s car.

Aaron Cassar from Birzebbugia was arraigned under arrest before Magistrate Nadine Lia this afternoon.

The 41 year-old man was arrested yesterday afternoon in an operation by the Major Crimes Department, assisted by the Rapid Intervention Unit. Police said they had been tipped off that an illicit arms sale was going to be carried out. Officers had surrounded the man’s vehicle in Birzebbugia and arrested him. A search of the vehicle found a loaded firearm in the boot, the court was told this morning.

Cassar pleaded not guilty to charges of carrying a firearm in public without a licence and breaching bail conditions secured by a €20,000 guarantee. He was on bail for an alleged arson attack on the home of Deniro Magri in 2018. In separate proceedings, Magri is accused of the murder of Sylvester Farrugia in 2017.

This morning, Cassar pleaded guilty to the possession of the weapon but not guilty to the other charges. His lawyer, David Gatt, asked to approach the bench out of earshot of the press. The case was postponed briefly until some checks could be carried out.

Inspector Wayne Camilleri opposed bail as the man was being charged with breaching other bail conditions.

Gatt said that 99% of similar cases are district sittings. “We are talking about an antique pistol which does not function due to factory faults as will be confirmed by the ballistics expert.”

Bail is part of another case where a third party allegedly shot and killed someone. He explained what he was going to do with the weapon. The defence would show eventually what the actual weapon is.

Camilleri confirmed that the weapon is not functioning but said that it could still be fired. Accused told the police that he had fired it at a wooden pallet.

Court observed his criminal record as containing weapons convictions. Court also noted that he had a 16 page criminal record. This together with the breach of bail proceedings against him before the criminal court. The court said it didn’t have the peace of mind that the accused could be considered as a trustworthy person who would observe his bail conditions.

Bail was denied.