Two charged with theft, assaulting police officers in Paceville

One of the accused lashed out and kicked a police car, causing €950 to €1,000 worth of damage to the vehicle’s side

Police (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Police (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

Two men have been remanded in custody on charges of theft and assaulting police officers in Paceville yesterday morning.

The man, Eritrean Kidu Gebremariam Gebrecharikos,37, who said he was homeless and unemployed, and Somali national Mustafa Aseyr Ahmed 27, who told the court that he had only held a job for one week in Malta, were arraigned before magistrate Yana Micallef Stafrace, accused of aggravated theft of a mobile phone in St. Julians on 9 October, as well as violently resisting four police, slightly injuring two of them.

Ahmed was also charged with recidivism, while Gebrecharikos was further charged with damaging government property and breaching a suspended sentence.

In the dock today, Gebrecharikos was highly assertive, his body language just sort of aggressive, frequently interrupting the sitting with outbursts.

Prosecuting police inspector Clinton Theuma told the court how yesterday the police had received a phone call, reporting the theft of a phone by “two African men.” From the dock Gebrecharikos shouted objections at being described in that way in the report.

“One of the men stole the phone from an Italian man and ran away, together with another person,” the Inspector said, adding that the victim had given police a perfect description of what the thieves had been wearing.

While officers were on their way to the spot, the police station had received another report of an argument in the same area. The police scoured the area, spotting Gebrecharikos and called him over. When the officers explained why he was being stopped, the man became aggressive and then started walking away, necessitating his being restrained, he said.

Two officers were injured while restraining the man.

The inspector told the court that Gebrecharikos had also lashed out and kicked a police car, causing €950 to €1,000 worth of damage to the vehicle’s side. He was subsequently taken to the police station, where he claimed not to remember what he had done.

Meanwhile, another team of police officers found Mustafa near Havana, he said. “He fit the description exactly.” Mustafa also tried to leave and refused to speak to the police, even though they explained that he was suspected of having stolen the phone.

He, too, had to be restrained and injured another officer during the ensuing scuffle.

The prosecution and defence briefly discussed the case privately with the magistrate before returning to their places in the courtroom.

Defence lawyer Brandon Kirk Muscat informed the magistrate the pair were pleading not guilty. At that point Gebrecharikos started waving his arms around and saying that the allegations were false. “That’s why you’re pleading not guilty” replied the magistrate.

Bail was not requested at this stage.

Mustafa also loudly addressed the magistrate, complaining that the police had all his belongings and that he needed to use his mobile phone. He was escorted out of the courtroom, his loud protestations continuing outside.