Bail denied for Rabat kidnap gang suspect, charged with attempt to corrupt a witness

Burton Azzopardi was charged with attempting to corrupt a witness, breaching his bail conditions, and recidivism • He is also facing charges for abducting a man in Rabat in January 2022 along with Christian Borg and others

Burton Azzopardi (Photo: Facebook)
Burton Azzopardi (Photo: Facebook)

One of the men on bail in connection with the alleged abduction of a man in Rabat has been charged with attempting to corrupt a witness.

Burton Azzopard1, 21 from Bormla, who told the court he lived in Zabbar and said he ran a cafe, was charged with attempting to corrupt a witness, breaching his bail conditions and recidivism.

No details of the events leading up to the arrest emerged during the arraignment.

When asked what he was pleading, Azzopardi replied “Ħeqq," and opened his arms.

Legal aid lawyer Martin Farrugia entered a not guilty plea and requested bail.

The prosecution objected.

Farrugia argued that the charges were not yet proven and that his client was presumed innocent. He said he hadn’t been given a copy of the evidence against Azzopardi, but said that he understood that there was “absolutely no evidence”

Farrugia said that Azzopardi’s business would suffer without him and this was “solely on the grounds of an allegation.”

Having previously approached the bench with the defence lawyer, prosecuting police inspector Gabriel Kitcher did not describe the precise circumstances of the case in open court, but said that it involved a witness in other ongoing proceedings “about a serious crime.”

He objected to bail.

“Our fear is not that he will not attend sittings, but that he will approach the witness again and intimidate him,” said the inspector, adding that there was a witness yet to testify in both cases.

The defence argued that safeguards were available to protect witnesses.

Court denied bail, at the early stage of the proceedings, acute fear of tampering with evidence.

The Rabat abduction

Burton Azzopardi is one of six men facing charges for abducting a man in Rabat in January 2022 who they accused of stealing a van.

The victim who managed to escape from his aggressors testified in court that he was threatened with having his fingers cut off, and his sister raped.

Azzopardi along with his accomplices Christian Borg, Tyson Grech, Luke Milton, Thorne Mangion and Jeremy Borg are currently all out on bail.

Azzopardi was also accused of breaching two bail decrees, and recidivism.

Christian Borg is also facing a judicial protest in court after tens of customers of his car hire-purchase dealership, No Deposit Cars Malta in Qormi, are claiming to have fallen victim to fraud and criminal conspiracy amongst other crimes.