Swieqi man charged with harassing ex, aggravated drug possession

Police find cash, cannabis and weighing scales after 18-year-old reported for sexual harassment

Indecent messages allegedly sent by a young man to his ex-girlfriend resulted in a police search at his home which, in turn, led to the discovery of a suspicious amount of drugs and related paraphernalia, a court heard today.

Inspectors Francesco Mizzi and Nico Zarb arraigned 18-year-old Kyrese Lares, a British man from Swieqi before Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit on Thursday, on charges of sexual harassment and possession of ecstasy and cannabis, the latter substance in circumstances which indicated that it was not for his personal use.

The defendant’s ex-girlfriend is understood to have gone to the police to report him for sexual harassment, after he allegedly sent her unwanted messages which were described in court as “indecent”, as well as footage purporting to show him having sex with another girl.

Police officers executing a search warrant at his house seized the man’s phone, but also discovered an undisclosed amount of cash and cannabis, as well as weighing scales. Ecstasy was also retrieved during the search, the court was told.

Lares pleaded not guilty to the charges. His lawyer, Noel Bianco, requested bail.

Objections were raised to that request by the prosecution, primarily on the grounds that his drug abuse increased the risk of him committing further offences if released from arrest.

Bianco told the court that the man had been in possession of just one ecstasy pill which he had split in two, alleging that he had bought the pill and then forgotten all about it, because he had smoked too much cannabis.

The lawyer added that the defendant’s father was present in the courtroom and was willing to help him out as required. The court replied that while it was good to see his father’s presence in court, it was still “very premature” for Lares to be released. He had a drug problem, remarked the magistrate, “and has not yet made up his mind whether to address it or not.”

Also militating against bail was the fact that the alleged victim had not yet testified, the court noted. The bail request was denied at this stage.

At the defence’s request, the court directed the prison director to house the defendant at the Young Offenders unit, in view of his age.