Man accused of setting fire to front door of Ħamrun house

Man denied bail and remanded in custody for allegedly setting fire to the front door of a house

A man has been remanded in custody on arson charges after allegedly setting fire to a Ħamrun house’s front door, while its elderly occupant was inside.

Jesmond Gatt, 54 from Ħamrun, was arraigned before Magistrate Elaine Rizzo on Friday, charged with arson and causing criminal damage to the property as a result of the incident which happened on Wednesday night.

Gatt pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Police Inspector Elisia Scicluna told the court that police officers had been dispatched to the Ħamrun square to deal with a report that a residence’s front door was on fire there.

Gatt was identified from CCTV footage that was retrieved from the area. The footage allegedly showed Gatt setting the door on fire twice - as the fire had petered out after his first attempt.

In court, Gatt’s lawyers requested bail, to which the prosecution objected. The footage showed the defendent was determined to set the door on fire, said the prosecution, adding that Gatt had a lengthy criminal record and had been released from prison only recently, after serving a four-year sentence. Gatt faces a 12-year stretch if convicted of the charges pressed today.

The bail request was not upheld and Gatt was remanded in custody.

Lawyer Joseph Camilleri Azarov from the Attorney General’s office prosecuted, assisting police inspectors Jeffrey Scicluna, Mario Sciberras and Elisia Scicluna. Lawyers Franco Debono, Marion Camilleri and Adriana Zammit appeared for the defence.