Construction worker charged over child porn possession, harassment

Court told man charged with the dissemination and possession of indecent photographs of an underage girl wanted to ‘teach’ her not to carry out such actions

Police have charged a 25-year-old man with the dissemination and possession of indecent photographs of an underage girl, whom he is also accused of harassing and requesting sexual favours from via social media.

Inspector Joseph Busuttil arraigned Syrian-born Marsaskala resident Ramadan Ahmed Hamed, 25, a construction worker, on charges of possession and dissemination of child pornography, harassing an underage girl and asking a minor for sexual favours.

The inspector explained to magistrate Josette Demicoli how the investigation had started when a concerned 17-year-old girl had called the police to report that someone had told her that he had pornographic pictures of her and had threatened to share them. 

The court was told that last year, at age 16, the girl had sent compromising pictures of herself to a man who was later found to be using a Facebook profile under an alias.

The police investigation had successfully identified the man as Hamed, who when called in for questioning had confirmed that this was true. “The reason he gave us was that he wanted to teach the girl not to do things like this.”

The morbidly obese accused was allowed to sit down by the court after he was seen to be struggling to stay on his feet.

Hamed’s defence counsel, lawyer Jason Grima, argued that this showed the man was genuine. A not guilty plea was subsequently entered on the accused’s behalf, followed by a request for bail.

But the accused said he did not know his own address, when asked by the court deputy registrar, saying that he had saved it on his mobile phone, which however had been seized by the police as evidence. The issue was resolved after the man’s brother, who was waiting outside the courtroom, was called in to confirm his residential address.

Inspector Busuttil objected to the man’s release, on the grounds that the minor had not yet testified, pointing out that the man could easily contact her again on social media.

For the defence, Grima argued the chat and videos in question were already in the police’s possession and that the man had already given his explanation to the police.

The accused’s brother was prepared to stand in as a guarantor for Hamed’s bail, added the lawyer.

The court granted the man bail, noting that the guarantees offered satisfied the legal requirements for release from arrest. It also imposed a protection order in favour of the young girl, prohibiting the man from contacting or approaching her in any way.

The man was ordered to sign a bail book on three days every week and to observe a curfew.

Bail was secured by a €1,000 deposit and a personal guarantee of €7,000.