Updated | Man charged with setting car on fire in Qormi

The 37-year-old man denied starting a fire that spread to a parked BMW and damaged other vehicles in Qomri

A man has denied intentionally starting a fire that consumed a parked BMW and damaged nearby vehicles.

Jonathan Zammit, 37, from Mosta, appeared in court under arrest before magistrate Gabriella Vella. Zammit told the court that he was unemployed.

Police Inspectors Mario Xiberras and James Mallia, assisted by prosecutors Daniel Tabone and Joseph Camilleri Azarov from the Office of the Attorney General, charged Zammit with intentionally setting fire to a vehicle, causing damage to another two cars that were parked nearby as well as damaging a shopfront. He was also charged with breaching bail conditions he had been placed under in June 2022.

The arson attack, which reduced the luxury BMW X5 to a charred shell, occurred in Triq Ġuże' Duca, Qormi on March 20, at around 4:30am. 

The burnt BMW X5
The burnt BMW X5

Officers from the Civil Protection Department extinguished the fire, which had also caused damage to nearby vehicles. An investigation into the fire was immediately launched by the police Arsons Unit, and duty magistrate Monica Vella appointed an inquiry to preserve the relevant evidence. 

Part of the evidence preserved was footage that had been gathered from security cameras, which confirmed that the car had intentionally been set alight. The investigations carried out by the police had also led to the identification of the alleged perpetrator. Confidential information received by the police had led them to his whereabouts, in a Marsa stables, where trainers and other items matching the footage were found, together with 2 litres of fuel.

Lawyer Alessandro Lia, who is representing the defendant, informed the court that his client was pleading not guilty to the charges. The defence said it was not requesting bail at this stage.

Together with the charges against Zammit, the prosecution requested the court order him to compensate the owners of the damaged vehicles as well as to issue protection orders in their regard. Magistrate Vella upheld the request, imposing a 3 year protection order, warning the defendant that any breach of the protection order carried a potential fine of up tp €7,000 fine and imprisonment for up to two years.