Criminal court refuses Attorney General's request to revoke suspected cocaine trafficker's bail

The 32-year-old accused was released on bail after his arraingment

The Criminal Court has rejected the Attorney General’s request to order the re-arrest of a 32-year-old man from Paola who was granted bail upon his arraignment after the police found 2kg of suspected cocaine in his car.

Liam Cassar had been arrested in a targeted operation by the Drug Squad, after confidential information about a suspected drug deal was received by the police.

According to an official statement, the police said that Cassar’s car had been stopped by officers in Triq tal-Barrani, Żejtun.  2kg of a white substance, thought to be cocaine, was found on the front seat of his car, wrapped in garbage bags and placed inside a cardboard box.

The street value of 2kg of cocaine is reportedly around €180,000.

Cassar had pleaded not guilty to the charges, telling police that he had been under the impression that the bag contained money. During the man’s arraignment, the court heard police Inspector Marshall Mallia testify that Cassar had helped investigations by naming third parties of interest to the investigation.

He had been released on bail after his arraignment, secured by a deposit of €10,000 and a personal guarantee of €10,000.

The Attorney General had filed an application on 28 June, asking the Criminal Court to revoke Cassar’s bail and order his re-arrest or, failing that, to make his bail conditions more onerous. The application cited the serious nature of the charges and the fear of the accused tampering with evidence, amongst other grounds for revoking bail.

Cassar’s defence lawyers, Franco Debono and Francesca Zarb, argued that he had cooperated with the police investigation by providing information which could lead to further prosecutions. Besides this, the defence insisted that it was the police’s duty to exhibit their evidence without delay and that any failure to do so should not create an obstacle to the release of the accused on bail.

In her decision on the matter, Madam Justice Edwina Grima remarked that she had, on several occasions, stressed that a re-arrest under the section of the law cited by the AG, could only be carried out if there was a clear mistake by the court which granted bail.

The judge said that this was evidently not the case here, where the court of magistrates had taken all the circumstances of the case into consideration before granting bail and had imposed adequate conditions to ensure Cassar’s compliance.

Besides this, it was apparent that Cassar was obeying his bail conditions so far, said the court, noting that the prosecution had not exhibited any evidence that “even remotely” indicted any suspicion of him having breached his bail conditions.

The court turned down the AG’s request for Cassar’s re-arrest.