Two youths in court over 700 grams cannabis find

Youths aged 19 and 20 released on bail after pleading not guilty to the aggravated possession of 700 grams of cannabis resin.

Two youths from Zabbar and Mosta were this morning granted bail after pleading not guilty to the aggravated possession of 700 grams of cannabis.

Sam Zima, 19, of Zabbar, and Joshua Galea, 20, of Mosta, were charged after RIU officials allegedly discovered several sachets of cannabis hidden in a car.

The court heard that on Saturday, RIU officials stopped the accused because they were speeding and driving negligently. Police inspector Herman Mula told the court that after being suspicious of the accused, police conducted a search in the accused's car.

Inside police found an envelope containing several sachets of drugs. The sachets were later certified to be containing 700 grams of cannabis resin.

Standing before the court this afternoon, Zima and Galea – who faced separate criminal proceedings – pleaded not guilty to being in the aggravated possession of cannabis that was denoted not to be for their personal use.

Zima was charged with the aggravated possession of 560 grams of cannabis, while his partner in crime, was charged over the remaining 140 grams.

In submissions, defence lawyer Arthur Azzopardi, who represented Zima, told the court that even though his client had admitted with the police, he would nevertheless plead not guilty before the court as he would have to face trial, and not be sentenced immediately.

Moreover, in submissions for bail, Dr Azzopardi insisted that his client is a first time offender and should therefore be granted bail. The request was however objected by the prosecution who argued that bail should be withheld due to the “serious nature of the crime.”

Magistrate Doreen Clarke granted the two youths against a deposit of €500 and a personal guarantee of €6,000. The youths were also ordered to sign a bail sheet daily, and also had a curfew imposed.

Lawyers Arthur Azzopardi and Yanika Camilleri were defence counsel, while Inspectors Herman Mula and Pierre Grech prosecuted.