Man charged with attacking bar owner with metal pipe denied bail

A court has denied bail to a man accused of attacking a bar owner with a metal pipe in Marsa

A court has denied bail to a man accused of attacking a bar owner with a metal pipe in Marsa.

Before magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit, Inspector Paul Camilleri arraigned Paola resident Mahamed Diriye Ayab, 27, from Somalia, charging him with attacking and slightly injuring a man, as well as insulting and threatening the man and a woman beyond the limits of provocation in a fight at a Marsa bar.

He was also accused of voluntarily breaching the peace. The prosecution requested protection and restraining orders to be issued.

Proceedings were nearly stalled after the two interpreters engaged to assist the accused failed to turn up for the arraignment. Despite claiming not to speak English, the court noted that the accused was able to communicate with his lawyer in the language, and so ordered the proceedings to continue. While the charges were being read out in English, one interpreter arrived.

Inspector Paul Camilleri told the court that Ayab had been drinking at a bar yesterday afternoon and argued with the owner, later coming back to attack him with a metal pipe. The court heard how a knife had also allegedly been used but this had not been found at the scene.

Through lawyer Yanika Bugeja, Ayab entered a plea of not guilty. Bail was requested.

The prosecution objected to his release, arguing that the accused had been granted asylum status in Italy but had no strong ties with Malta. His address in Paola was known to be shared with other asylum seekers. He said he worked at the bar.

Bugeja argued that the charges were dealt with minor crimes. Normally persons accused of these offences were not even charged under arrest, said the lawyer. Ayab had a job and an address in Malta and was still considered innocent until proven guilty, Bugeja submitted, adding that his lack of ties to Malta could be countered by court-imposed conditions.

The court, however, having seen the relevant dispositions of the criminal code, ruled against bail, saying that at this stage, it did not have the peace of mind that the accused had a fixed place of residence and that the two key civilian witnesses were yet to testify.