Safi escapee acquitted after court declares charges time-barred

The man escaped from the Safi detention centre in 2006 and was apprehended when he returned to the immigration department eight years later to collect his belongings

A Tunisian man accused of escaping from the Safi detention centre has been acquitted after a court decreed that the charges against him were time-barred.

Walid Belgasem, 30, who had escaped from the Safi detention centre in 2006, was apprehended when he returned to the immigration department eight years later to collect his belongings and a sum of money that he had been carrying at the time of his rescue.

The items had been placed in storage upon his arrival, pending the processing of his asylum case.

However, legal aid lawyer Simon Micallef Stafrace brought to the attention of the court the fact that the charges had been time-barred by the  lapse of five years from the date of Belgasem’s charge.

Magistrate Charmaine Galea agreed with the defence and dismissed the case.

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