Man admits to mugging two elderly people, sentence expected next month

The 21-year-old admits to two mugging incidents in Marsa and Ħamrun last December

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

A 21-year-old Syrian man has been remanded in custody pending a report on sentencing after he admitted to robbing two elderly men, slightly injuring one. 

Obaid Alsaleh from Hamrun was arraigned before Magistrate Noel Bartolo this afternoon, accused of carrying out the two muggings in December, together with another man.

The first mugging took place on 3 December in Triq il-Kapuccini, Marsa. The 71-year-old victim had tried to resist the accused and was injured as a result.

The accused, who told the court he worked as a plasterer, also admitted to having robbed a 64-year-old man of his mobile phone in Hamrun on 6 December.

The victims had both told the police that they had been mugged by two men. Police Inspector Lydon Zammit, prosecuting together with Police Inspectors Stephen Gulia and Roderick Attard, said the accused had been arrested at his home after being recognised from CCTV footage.

Alsaleh was additionally accused of breaching the conditions of a suspended sentence he had been handed last June and with recidivism.

Inspector Zammit told the court that the man had cooperated with the investigation and had given the police information about his accomplice. Another man is expected to be arraigned on related charges in the coming days, he said.

Asked whether he pleaded guilty or not guilty, Alsaleh admitted to committing the crimes and tearfully insisted with the court that he would not repeat them, telling the magistrate that he had a young daughter.

The magistrate informed him that he could expect a custodial sentence if he confirmed his guilty plea, giving him time to reconsider. Alsaleh persisted with his admission of guilt, however.

In his submissions on punishment, Inspector Zammit said the prosecution was insisting on imprisonment, arguing that the crimes were made more serious by the fact that they had targeted the elderly, but that the punishment ought to be tempered by the fact that Alsaleh had cooperated with the police and assisted in the identification of the other mugger.

Lawyer Charmaine Cherrett, appearing as legal aid defence counsel, said she agreed with the inspector on the cooperation front and pointed out that the accused should benefit from having made an early admission, having spared much time wasting for the court and the police.

The lawyer also submitted the court should take into consideration the young age of the accused and his family situation. She requested a pre-sentencing report be drawn up. The request was upheld with the court noting the prosecution had not objected. 

The court adjourned the case till February for the report to be drawn up.

Bail was not requested and the man was remanded in custody.