Man charged after stealing cash from Valletta Food Market

Man behind maritime museum theft just over a month ago is once again charged after stealing cash from the Valletta Food Market

File photo
File photo

A man has been jailed after admitting to stealing cash from the Valletta Food Market, returning to court just over a month after being charged with the theft of historical artefacts from the Maritime Museum.

Justin Mallia, 26, from Bormla, pleaded guilty to a charge of theft, aggravated by value, before Magistrate Victor Axiak on Friday.

Police Inspector Gabriel Micallef, prosecuting together with Inspector Tilden Tabone, told the court that €930 in cash had been reported as stolen from the shop’s strongroom on March 14.

CCTV footage and descriptions given by people who had been in the vicinity led to Mallia’s identification. The defendant was traced to Corradino prison, where he was being held in connection with the museum thefts.

Mallia admitted to interrogations that he had stolen the money, which the police were unable to recover.

The defendant pleaded guilty during his arraignment in court, confirming his admission of guilt after being given time to speak to his lawyer and reconsider.

Lawyer Martina Herrera, assisting the defendant as legal aid counsel, requested a light punishment, a suggestion seconded by the prosecution who explained that the defendant was doing his best to return the stolen cash.

A recidivism charge had to be dropped in view of the fact that the prosecution was unable to produce a copy of Mallia’s latest conviction, handed down on 14 December last year.

After discussing sentencing privately with the lawyers, the court declared Mallia guilty of all charges, including those of breaching probation and recidivism, and sentenced him to imprisonment for 12 months. He was also bound to repay the stolen cash, via the police, within six months of his release from prison.