No bail for man accused of threatening siblings

Fight between siblings lands man in preventive custody for allegedly sending threatening messages to his family members

A fight between siblings has landed one man in preventive custody for allegedly sending threatening messages to his family members and drug possession.

Magistrate Josette Demicoli presided as Inspector Audrey Micallef arraigned Michael Abela, 31, from Fgura on charges relating to the incident.

Inspector Micallef told the court that on 16 July, the police had received a report from two of the accused’s siblings, alleging that he had a firearm and was sending them threats on their mobile phones. The duty magistrate was informed and an arrest warrant was issued.

A subsequent search of the property found no firearms but three bladed or pointed weapons were found at his home, together with an amount of what the police suspect to be cannabis.

Abela eventually released a statement to the police, after being declared fit to do so, following several medical visits.

Court told the accused that he was charged with several offences, amongst them causing fear of violence and possession of a weapon in public, threatening his siblings, aggravated possession of cannabis and insulting and threatening a police inspector, breaching the peace and recidivism.

The accused pleaded not guilty and bail was requested. His lawyer, Roberto Montalto, said the defence had no objection to the prosecution’s requests for protection of third parties.

The prosecution objected on the grounds of the risk of the accused tampering with evidence.

Montalto pointed out that in the past the accused had been beaten up by his siblings and that there were pending court proceedings about it.

“There are other remedies to protect the alleged victims and the evidence, and this is why we were open to protection orders,” said the lawyer.

The calls were just empty threats, Montalto said, saying that there was no substance. “Going to a man’s house and finding a knife means you’ve found nothing,” said the lawyer.

Montalto told the court that the accused had drug abuse problems and that the 7 grams of cannabis found were for his own use. “He needs direction and assistance,” said the lawyer.

Another knife had been found in the accused’s truck, the court was told, but Montalto explained that this was work-related.

Inspector Micallef said the man was not trustworthy, in view of his criminal record and intimidating behaviour online, but the defence rebutted this, saying “we cannot anticipate a breach of court orders. If they are breached there are consequences which we all know about.”

The court, after hearing the submissions of both sides said that at this stage, it must deny the request for bail, primarily because of fear of tampering with evidence as the alleged victims must testify and because it doesn’t feel the accused satisfies the guarantees required.

However, the court also directed the prosecutor to summon the victims to testify in the next sitting.

It upheld the prosecution’s request for a protection order in favour of the victims.