Man threatened to falsely accuse arresting officers of ‘stealing €20,000’ from him, court told

Man charged over an incident where a car’s windshield was smashed, allegedly threatened to falsely accuse the officers of stealing €20,000 from him

File photo
File photo

A man charged over an incident where a car’s windshield was smashed, allegedly threatened to falsely accuse the officers of stealing €20,000 from him.

Inspector Ryan Vella arraigned a 37-year-old Gambian man, Lamin Samura Seguba before magistrate Noel Bartolo on Friday afternoon.

The man was arrested on Thursday afternoon in St.Paul’s Bay.

Inspector Vella gave an overview of what led to the arrest. At the scene, the owner of a car with a broken windshield had pointed out the accused as the person. Police approached the man and asked for his details, but he refused. He then gave them a false name.

After being arrested, the police searched his bag and found a knife with a blade longer than 6cm. His rights were read to him.

At the police station, Seguba then threatened to get the officers fired and to falsely claim that he had been carrying €20,000 at the time of his arrest, which disappeared, said the inspector.

The man was escorted to Mater Dei Hospital for medical attention, where he smashed items of furniture there after becoming bored of waiting.

Seguba was charged with having caused over €250 worth of damage to another man’s property and breaching the peace, following what appears to have been an argument. He was also accused of carrying a knife in public without a permit, refusing to give his particulars to the police officers who responded to reports about the disturbance and threatening five police officers.

Further charges relating to the causing of less than €250 worth of damage to Mater Dei Hospital and breaching bail conditions were also pressed.

Lawyers Franco Debono, Marion Camilleri and Francesca Zarb, defence counsel to the accused, informed the court that the accused would be pleading not guilty.

Bail was also requested. Inspector Vella objected to the request, pointing out that besides police officers, there were also civilian witnesses who are yet to testify. He pointed out that the accused is also accused of breaching previous bail conditions and the serious nature of the charges.

Camilleri submitted that the accused had no knowledge of who the civilian witnesses are. “We don’t think that it’s a valid reason for the court to reject our request for bail.”

With respect to the breach of bail, the lawyer argued that the accused could not have breached bail unless he is found guilty of the other charges.

Seguba had been on bail for around seven or eight years and had in fact filed a Constitutional case about this, added the lawyer. “I assume that the police have decided to arraign under arrest because of the breach of bail, because the other charges…are not of such a serious nature as to merit denying bail.”

The threat was “if you are not going to respect my rights, you are going to lose your jobs” said the lawyer, arguing that this statement did not even constitute a threat.

Inspector Vella explained that the most serious charge was the carrying of a knife. He had been taken to hospital because he had shards of glass in his hand. He had been asked to wait because more serious cases had to be dealt with first and then damaged furniture.

The threat received was to falsely accuse the officers of theft, pointed out the inspector.

The court, after hearing the submissions and having considered the nature of the case, denied bail due to the nature of the charges and the possibility of tampering with evidence.