Unlicenced bouncer charged over Paceville assault on Argentina fan celebrating World Cup win

Unlicenced nightclub bouncer denies charges relating to an assault on a football fan who had been celebrating Argentina’s World Cup win last week in Paceville

File photo
File photo

An unlicenced nightclub bouncer has denied charges relating to an assault on a football fan who had been celebrating Argentina’s World Cup win last week in Paceville.

Inspector Keith Xerri arraigned Marko Jerotic-Mitrovic, a 27-year-old security officer from Serbia, before magistrate Charmaine Galea earlier today, charging him with having inflicted grievous bodily harm on Sergio Ramirez Lesmes at St Rita’s Steps on 18 December.

The victim, a 33-year-old Colombian national, had been in Paceville, celebrating Argentina's victory at the World Cup final.

Jerotic-Mitrovic was further charged with breaching the peace and acting as a private guard without a licence.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges. His lawyers, Shazoo Ghaznavi and Charlon Gouder, requested bail.

Inspector Xerri exhibited CCTV footage of the incident and objected to bail. The accused had been in Malta for less than a year and a half and was residing with girlfriend at her apartment, which is not his registered address, said the inspector, also pointing out that the man has no prospect of work or employment as a private guard anymore.

“The offence is grievous in nature, as he is supposed to help maintain public order,” added the inspector. The police are also still attempting to track down another man in connection with the assault, he said. The victim is also yet to testify, concluded the inspector.

Gouder asked the inspector whether the accused had cooperated fully with the police. “He reported himself to the police station, a week after,” the inspector replied.

The lawyer argued to the court that the accused was still presumed innocent and that bail should be the rule, not the exception. It was also pointed out that Jerotic-Mitrovic had answered the police’s questions during his interrogation and had released a statement.

The defence pointed out that the incident had taken place on December 18, and in the 11 days before his arrest, the accused had not attempted to tamper with evidence.

The fact that the other persons involved in the crime had not turned themselves in or cooperated with the police should not have a deleterious effect on the accused’s rights, Gouder said.

Inspector Xerri argued that granting bail to the accused would create a problem for the investigation, especially should he contact the other wanted person.

The court denied the request for bail at this stage, in view of the fact that the other person involved in the incident is yet to be found by the police.

Inspector Keith Xerri prosecuted.

Lawyers Shazoo Ghaznavi and Charlon Gouder were defence counsel.

Lawyer Julian Farrugia appeared on behalf of the injured party.