Xghajra man charged after 35 cannabis plants found in field

35-year-old Manuel Abela was arrested after police discovered a number of what are believed to be cannbis plants on property belonging to his father

A 35-year-old man who was found to be cultivating 35 cannabis plants in his home has been charged with aggravated possession of the drug, amongst other offences.

Manuel Abela was arrested at his father’s field in Xghajra on Saturday, after suspicious plants were found there. He had been under arrest since then. 

Police Inspector Josric Mifsud told Magistrate Ian Vella how police acting on a tip-off had raided Manuel Abela’s field two days ago. 35 plants of various sizes, suspected of being cannabis, were seized, said the inspector.

Abela was charged with cultivation of cannabis, possession of cannabis in circumstances denoting that it was not for his personal use and heroin possession. He was also charged with the illegal possession of four robins - a protected species.

Abela, who is unemployed and lives in Xghajra, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Defence lawyer Noel Camilleri asked for bail, pointing out that there was no risk of the accused tampering with evidence as it had already been collected by police. The accused’s father was not aware that the property was being used for this purpose, the lawyer said .

One of the accused’s three sisters, who were present in court this afternoon, paid his €500 bail deposit. A personal guarantee of €2,500 was also imposed. In addition, he was ordered to sign a bail book at Zabbar police station three times a week and observe a curfew.

The magistrate warned the accused to abide by his bail conditions, explaining to the man’s sister that if she observed her brother to be disobeying the court’s conditions, she should speak to a lawyer.