Thumbprints not enough evidence to convict man of theft, court says

33-year-old Jonathan Mizzi was acquitted of stealing a wallet from a parked car in Msida, after a court noted that the prosecution's only evidence was two matching thumbprints on the car's door.

A court has cleared a man of stealing a wallet from a parked car, after it held that a matching thumbprint on the car door did not constitute sufficient evidence of the man’s involvement.

Police Inspector Darren Buhagiar had charged Jonathan Mizzi, 33, from Birkirkara with having stolen the wallet – containing €35 – from a Hyundai Accent which had been parked at Msida in October 2001. Two fingerprints found on the car's door matched Mizzi’s right thumb. 

Mizzi had consistently denied any connection with the theft, telling the court that at the time, he was living with his mother in the street where the car had been parked.

During his interrogation, the accused had admitted that he was a cocaine addict and had been involved in various thefts from vehicles, as well as having taken part in a hold-up. 

But Mizzi’s lawyer, Edward Gatt, argued that the law was clear in stipulating that circumstantial evidence required other, corroborating evidence to secure a conviction.

Magistrate Neville Camilleri observed that the prosecution had based their case around the thumbprints, which were the only piece of evidence they had brought and upheld the defence’s argument, finding the man not guilty.