Man charged with stealing car, groping female driver

The man was denied bail due to the severity of the charges

A man has been denied bail after being charged with groping a woman and stealing her car in St Paul’s Bay, two days ago.

30 year-old Jeffry Varghese from St. Paul’s Bay was accused of committing a non-consensual act of a sexual nature on a Spanish woman, holding her against her will, stealing her car and damaging it.

The incident took place on 24 August at around 7:30pm at St. Paul’s Bay.

Inspector Saviour Baldacchino prosecuted. He explained to the court that the police received a report about an incident of vehicle theft and had gone on site. When the police arrived, the victim had told the police that a person she didn’t know had entered her vehicle when she had a problem with it. Whilst he was assisting her, she said he made sexual advances. The man drove off and then stopped soon after, having damaged the car. A few minutes later, the police went on site and arrested the accused.

The accused, who said he was born in India, worked with a pizza outlet. He entered a plea of not guilty.

The victim was present in court, shaking throughout the sitting.

Defence counsel, lawyer Robert Piscopo requested bail. The prosecution objected as the accused had only weak ties to Malta. There are persons who are yet to testify, said the inspector. Baldacchino pointed out that the victim still had to testify and lived quite close to the accused.

Piscopo argued that the accused didn’t know the victim. “He’s lived in Malta for two years with his wife and children. There is no intention to abscond,” said the lawyer, adding that it was difficult for the accused to tamper with evidence as the victim’s version was already preserved by the police.

In view of the severity of the charges against the accused, and also in view of the fact that the alleged victim still needs to testify, the court said it was denying bail at this stage.

Varghese was remanded in custody.