Taxi driver charged with sexually abusing his partner's daughter

The 40-year-old allegedly abused his partner's daughter at her mother's house over several years

A 40-year-old taxi driver from Fgura has been charged with the repeated sexual abuse of his partner’s daughter, at her mother’s house.

The accused, who cannot be named due to a court order, denied the charges during his arraignment before Magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo. His request for bail was not upheld.

Few details about the case emerged in today’s court sitting, but it is understood that the offences, which did not include rape, spanned several years.

Inspectors Dorianne Tabone and Sherona Buhagiar charged the man with performing non-consensual acts of a sexual nature on the victim, now 16 years old, who lived in the same household as him, subjecting a minor to acts of physical intimacy on a repeated basis and repeatedly exposing a minor to behaviour, words or images of a sexual nature.

The man was further charged with exceeding the limits of provocation in insulting and threatening both the child and her mother.

The accused, who told the court that he worked as a taxi driver, pleaded not guilty. As he had declared that he was gainfully employed, the legal aid lawyer appointed to assist him, Yanika Bugeja, dictated a note stating that she would be representing the man as legal aid for this sitting only.

The prosecution objected to the man’s request for bail, on the grounds of the risk of the accused tampering with evidence and the gravity of the crimes with which he was being charged. 

“When we asked the accused to come to the police headquarters, he had decided instead to go to the alleged victim’s house. He was, in fact, arrested at this address.”

“He had claimed that he was at work [when the police called], but this was a lie as the workplace he mentioned turned out to be a factory which was still under construction,” added the inspector.

Bugeja argued that every crime is serious, telling the magistrate that the accused could live with his mother in Żejtun.

The court had a vast array of measures at its disposal to ensure that the accused obeys his bail conditions, said the lawyer, arguing that the fear of him breaching them was not sufficient justification for his continued detention..

“He is a self-employed taxi driver, although the taxi he uses doesn’t belong to him. If he doesn’t work he will lose his job,” added the lawyer.

The court, however, said it would be denying bail at this stage, in view of the gravity of the charges and because civilian witnesses are yet to testify.
Lawyer Mark Busuttil appeared parte civile for the alleged victims.