Man granted bail over 470g cannabis discovery

The 20-year-old was arrested by community police after being found in possession of 470g of cannabis on Saturday

A man has been released on bail after he was charged over the discovery of 470g of cannabis in his possession.

Inspector Andrew Agius arraigned St. Paul’s Bay resident Josh Hogan, 20, on charges of possessing cannabis in circumstances denoting that it was not intended solely for his personal use. 

Hogan, from Birmingham, who told the court that he works with a boat maintenance company, had been arrested on 3 September at St. Paul’s Bay.

The accused pleaded not guilty. Defence counsel, lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran and Charles Mercieca requested bail for the accused. Mercieca said the accused’s parents, sister and partner were present in the courtroom and were prepared to offer themselves as bail guarantors.

Agius said the man was found in possession of 470g of cannabis. The inspector added that several empty sachets and a weighing scale were also found in the man’s possession. There are no lay witnesses, he confirmed. He objected to bail on the grounds of the seriousness of the crime.

Mercieca pointed out that cannabis was legalised last December, arguing that the substance itself was not illegal, “but only the circumstances are what led to the charges.”

Hogan had a drug problem and was willing to submit to a treatment order, said the lawyer. “He is also the father of an eight-month-old baby,” Mercieca added. “Josh has been living in Malta for the past five years, and even the prosecution did not say he was a flight risk.”

Caruana Curran submitted that unlike normal drug arraignments, there were “no lay witnesses and all the evidence is in possession of the prosecution.”

Hogan’s parents live and work in Malta, added the lawyers.

Mercieca told the court that the defence was concerned about the possibility of the accused suffering psychological damage if remanded in custody.

In its submissions on bail, the prosecution added that it had not yet excluded the involvement of third parties in this case.

The court, after hearing submissions on bail, acceded to the bail request, also placing him under a probation and treatment order until final judgement so that he may receive professional assistance with his drug and psychological issues.

Hogan’s bail was set at €15,000 - a €5000 deposit and a €10,000 personal guarantee
Magistrate Astrid May Grima presided over the arraignment.