Second Mellieha resident charged over December burglary in his hometown

Mellieha resident denies charges in connection with the burglary of a private residence in the Northern town earlier this month

File photo
File photo

A second Mellieha resident has denied charges in connection with the burglary of a private residence in the Northern town, earlier this month.

27-year-old Jean Claude Hili was arraigned before magistrate Charmaine Galea on Thursday, charged with complicity in aggravated theft, handling stolen goods, breaching bail conditions and recidivism. Police investigations into the December 13 burglary had led to the arraignment of 39-year-old Mellieha resident Frankie Bugeja on Christmas Eve.

In a statement released after being questioned by the police, Bugeja had identified Hili as his accomplice. Police inspector Christian Cauchi, prosecuting, told the court that one of the items reported stolen had subsequently been found inside Hili’s residence.

Hili, who told the court that he worked with the Tourism Ministry on a self-employed basis, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The defence requested bail, which was objected to by Inspector Cauchi on the grounds that at the time of the alleged offences, Hili had already been out on bail for other offences. There were also civilian witnesses who were yet to testify, added the inspector.

Lawyer Josette Sultana assisted the accused as legal aid for the arraignment. She told the court that Hili had problems with drug addiction and was visiting the detox centre regularly. He had since found employment and was also due to start drug rehabilitation soon, she said, highlighting his progress.

The court refused bail at this stage, in view of the charge of committing a crime whilst on bail for another offence. A recommendation that Hili receive assistance with tackling his drug problem was also made to the Prison Director.