Man remanded in custody over attempt to carry out an armed robbery

Accused told police he committed the crime ‘to go to prison’

Court (File photo)
Court (File photo)

A man has been remanded in custody on charges of holding up a cashier at knifepoint last night.

Isaac Grech, 23, from Raħal Ġdid was accused of attempting to carry out an armed robbery at a grocery store in his hometown, detaining the woman behind the counter against her will, and carrying a knife in public without a police licence.

Police Inspectors Lydon Zammit and Antonello Magri also charged Grech, who told the court he worked in “construction” but whose Facebook profile says he works with a Maltese betting company, with breaching two sets of bail conditions and recidivism.

Inspector Zammit told magistrate Joseph Gatt that yesterday, the police had received a report of a suspicious person near the shop in question and officers from the Rapid Intervention Unit were immediately dispatched to the scene. The police officers arrived to find Grech in the act of demanding cash at knifepoint. “He had already given the cashier a bag to put the money in,” said the inspector.

Grech had tried to give the police the slip and escape from the shop but was unsuccessful, said the inspector.

Replying to a question by legal aid defence lawyer Mattia Felice, the inspector confirmed that nobody had been injured during the robbery and that no money was effectively stolen. “That is why he is being charged with an attempt,” explained the inspector

Grech pleaded not guilty to the charges. Felice requested bail for the defendant.

Inspector Zammit objected to the request for his release from arrest, pointing to the nature of the offence, civilian witnesses and the fact that he had breached a bail decree he was handed just 15 days ago. “He told us himself that it would be better for him if he went to prison…the reason he gave us for committing this crime was that he wanted to go to prison.”

Felice submitted that Grech was presumed innocent at this stage of proceedings.

Bail was denied due to the nature of the charges, the court adding that it did not trust the defendant to abide by any bail conditions it could impose.