Alleged drug addict remanded in custody on domestic violence charges

A 47-year-old man has been denied bail and remanded in custody after being charged with domestic violence against his ex-partner

A 47-year old man who the police say is addicted to crack cocaine has been remanded in custody on domestic violence charges.

The defendant, who told the court he worked as a driver, was arraigned before Magistrate Leonard Caruana this morning, replying not guilty to charges of causing the woman to fear that she would be subjected to violence, harassing her, insulting a third party, breaching a restraining order, breaching a suspended sentence, breaching a protection order, and breaching bail conditions.

The court was also asked to issue a protection order and, if necessary, a treatment order.

Police Inspector Omar Zammit told the court that on 16 April, the defendant’s ex-partner and mother of his son had reported to the police’s domestic violence unit that the man had gone to her workplace, attacking and threatening her, allegedly claiming that he had not seen their son because of her. 

Inspector Zammit told the court that a previously-issued protection order was already in place but, in spite of this, two days before the incident, the woman had gone to the police to report receiving threats and non-stop phone calls from the defendant.

The police had not been able to locate and question the man before the alleged incident. He was subsequently arrested at his home yesterday.

In reply to a question from defence lawyer Ishmael Psaila, the inspector confirmed that the woman had testified this morning in separate proceedings.

Psaila argued that the protection order had also been breached by the woman, but the inspector replied that only the defendant was bound by the protection order which had been issued against him.

Inspector Zammit confirmed that the couple had been communicating “on and off” up till last week, saying that this was in relation to the child. 

The lawyer suggested that the woman had just testified to going to the man’s house to sleep with him. “What I know is that they sometimes meet because of their son,” replied the inspector, adding that it had not emerged during his investigation that they had slept together. What the woman had said under oath in other proceedings was her responsibility, he said.

The prosecution objected to the defence’s request for bail, basing the objection primarily on the grounds of the defendant’s untrustworthiness. Inspector Zammit told the court that the man had a voluminous criminal record, as well as past convictions relating to the same issues. He had also been difficult for the police to trace. 

The victim is yet to testify in these proceedings, added the inspector.

“He has been doing this for a long time. He is undergoing proceedings before different courts and has been given opportunities to improve, but he carries on as if nothing happened.”

The defence lawyer argued that he had mentioned the other proceedings as the two cases were “identical”.

“We are talking about the same two persons who, two years ago, had a baby together. In the meantime, if there was a breach of a protection order, it wasn’t because he went after her. This woman sometimes decides to appear in his life and when it doesn’t suit her, runs to the domestic violence unit.”

“This woman, after making a fuss and crying crocodile tears, sought him out on the very day that he left prison,” submitted the lawyer. “He didn’t go knock on her door when he left prison, she looked him up and this is captured on public CCTV.  This person, who is supposedly terrified of the defendant, didn't go to court, Appoġġ or used the other remedies at her disposal to settle the custody issue, she went to his house, stayed there and slept there.”

Psaila expressed concern that the woman would try to contact the defendant again. “The restraining order binds him, but it takes two to tango. I am not saying that he will leave the courtroom and call her up.”

The court, after hearing the parties’ submissions on bail said it felt that the bail request should be denied at this stage, primarily because of the fact that the alleged victim is still to testify in these proceedings, but also because of the defendant’s repeat offending.

A further protection order was issued in favour of the woman.

The defence denied that the man had a drug problem but did not object to placing the man under a treatment order. The court upheld the prosecution’s request for the treatment order.

The magistrate warned the man that he faced grave legal consequences, including a fine of up to €7,000, if he is enrolled in a drug rehabilitation program but fails to collaborate with the treatment being offered there. 

Lawyer Lara Dimitrijevic appeared as parte civile for the woman.