Man to face compilation of evidence after magistrate rejects guilty plea

Magistrate ‘not convinced’ of guilty plea orders compilation of evidence and remands man in custody

A 34-year-old Ivorian who admitted to stealing a handbag in Paceville has been remanded in custody and will have to face a compilation of evidence after a criminal court rejected the man’s guilty plea because it was “not convinced.”

Mumen Traore, an Ivory Coast national living in Malta, admitted to stealing two mobile phones, to handling stolen property, and to relapsing.

However, despite his admission, Traore was not sentenced but instead has to face a compilation of evidence and the police will now have to summon witnesses after the court insisted that “it was not convinced of the guilty plea.”

Earlier, Traore, had admitted to stealing a handbag in Dragunara Street, St Julian’s on Tuesday evening. Sources close to the investigation told MaltaToday that the accused grabbed Jacqueline Galea’s handbag before running off towards St George’s Bay.

Upon seeing this, the victim’s friend, Liam Formosa, is said to have ran after the accused, and a few moments later caught up with him. Informed sources said Formosa then gave the accused €20 in exchange for the handbag, which is said to have contained two mobile phones, €32 in cash, and a set of keys.

The victims then lodged a report, and subsequently, two RIU officials – Constables Saviour and Warren Mifsud – spotted the man in front of the Westin Dragonara Hotel. The accused was subsequently arrested.

Standing before the court, the accused admitted to the charges brought against him. When asked to reconsider his guilty plea, Traore - who during the sitting appeared confused and communicated through a French translator – nodded and reiterated that he was guilty.

Nevertheless, the court, presided by Magistrate Neville Camilleri argued that it was “not convinced,” and that it would not accept his guilty plea - effectively meaning that the record will now state that the accused denied the charges.

Meanwhile, the court rejected bail because the accused does not have a fixed address, and due to fear of absconding.

Inspector Jason Francis Sultana prosecuted, while Lawyer Renzo Porsella Flores was legal aid.

Magistrate Neville Camilleri presided.