Car chase driver faces drug charges after 1kg cocaine find

Charges include drug posession, reckless driving, and possession of a firearm without a licence

The Marsaskala car chase led to a 1kg cocaine bust (Photo: Malta Police Force)
The Marsaskala car chase led to a 1kg cocaine bust (Photo: Malta Police Force)

A man arrested after leading police on a car chase in Marsaskala has been charged with aggravated possession of cocaine and denied bail.

39-year-old Kurt Buttigieg from Marsa was arraigned before magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit this morning and charged with possession of approximately 1kg of cocaine in circumstances denoting it was not for his personal use, failing to obey police instructions, reckless driving, criminal damage and possession of a firearm and ammunition without a police licence. Buttigieg was also accused of recidivism.

The prosecution said that Buttigieg had thrown a package containing the drugs out of his car during the car chase, which began after police were tipped off about the drugs.

Bail was requested but was objected to by the prosecution, who said the case was still being investigated and that there were potentially other charges to be pressed. A search of the accused’s home had recovered documents which may give police new leads.

The defence argued that there was no risk of tampering with evidence and no civilian witnesses, as the star witnesses in the case are the police officers involved.

During the heated bail submissions, the defence lawyers Matthew Xuereb and Roberto Spiteri questioned the disclosure given to the accused, who they said had no intention of breaking the law.

Arguing that there were no concrete reasons to deny bail, the defence said it was a dangerous argument for the prosecution to propose keeping persons under arrest for the simple reason that investigations are still ongoing. “Investigations never stop,” pointed out Xuereb. The police could have used police bail if they needed more time to investigate, said the lawyer.

Bail was denied.

Inspectors Justine Grech and Marshal Mallia prosecuted. Lawyers Matthew Xuereb and Roberto Spiteri were defence counsel.