Young man denied bail after allegedly harassing his mother for drug money

The court heard that the accused's mother had to leave her house in order to avoid her son who was pestering her for money to buy drugs

The accused had allegedly asked his mother to give him €270 of money he entrusted her with on the same day
The accused had allegedly asked his mother to give him €270 of money he entrusted her with on the same day

A 22-year-old drug addict from Tarxien has been remanded in custody after being accused of harassing and threatening his mother to access money he had entrusted her with for safekeeping. 

The defendant, whose name is subject to a court-imposed media ban, was arraigned before magistrate Giannella Camilleri Busuttil on Tuesday. He pleaded not guilty to charges of causing his mother to fear violence, harassing and threatening her and misuse of telecommunications equipment. He also denied breaching the conditions of a suspended sentence and recidivism.

Police Inspector Colin Sheldon, prosecuting, told the court that on September 16, the man’s mother had gone to the domestic violence unit together with another one of her sons, to report that the defendant was always pestering her for money due to his acute drug addiction.

Inspector Sheldon said that the money belonged to the defendant, who had entrusted it to his mother to stop him from spending it all on drugs.

That day, he had demanded the woman hand him €200 in the morning and later in the afternoon had asked for another €70. The mother left the house to avoid having to face the defendant when he returned home and had gone to live somewhere else. “Things were going to escalate. She was afraid of him and he had been physical in the past,” said the inspector.

When he didn’t find her at home the defendant had sent his mother a non-stop stream of messages and phone calls, some of which were received while she had been filing her police report.

That same day a conveyance order was issued for the defendant, under which he was to be sent to Mount Carmel Hospital, said the inspector, going on to say that as he was due to be released today, the decision was taken to arrest him before that could happen, on the strength of a warrant.

Defence lawyer Albert Zerafa entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of the defendant and requested bail.

The prosecution objected to the request.

Stressing that the defendant was never violent, Zerafa asked the court to hear what the mother had to say, as he was informed that there was a possibility that she might allow the defendant to return home. 

At that point, Inspector Sheldon informed the court the woman’s lawyer, Carina Nagiah had just told him that the mother did not want her son to go to prison and that she had an alternative place to live. “There were more than just drug problems,” Zerafa added.

Sheldon argued that the case was still in an early stage and that there was a realistic risk of a more serious incident occurring. The defendant had recently spent some four months at Mount Carmel, where he did not have access to drugs, said the inspector, arguing that there was “no guarantee that if released the circumstances will remain the same.” 

The prosecution also requested a protection order be issued in favour of the mother.

Bail was denied at this stage, as the court felt there was a real risk of the man committing further crimes. The magistrate made a recommendation to the prison director, asking him to ensure that the defendant receives all the treatment and assistance he required. A protection order in favour of the mother was also issued. 

Explaining to the accused that he was prohibited from approaching his mother until proceedings are concluded on pain of a €7,000 fine or a 2-year prison sentence, the court said it was for the best. “I think it is important that you receive all the help you can at this time. I urge you to seek help and always respect your parents,” said the magistrate.

Lawyer Albert Zerafa was defence counsel, while Lawyer Carina Nagiah appeared for the parte civile. Inspector Colin Sheldon prosecuted.