Lengthy prison sentences for would-be thief and accomplice

Salem Ali Elaidy and Abderraouf Barchech were sentenced to 60 months and 30 months, respectively 

A 25-year-old Libyan national and his 34-year-old Tunisian friend have been sentenced to 60 months' and 30 months' imprisonment, respectively, for an attempted burglary from the EF International Language Center in St. Julians last November.

Magistrate Aaron Bugeja had heard police officers testify to having chanced upon Salem Ali Elaidy, who hails from Benghazi, carrying a stolen television set in a Paceville road a short distance from the language school.

The officers had seen a white Peugeot reversing on the pavement with the boot open and Elaidy approaching it, carrying the television set. Asked what he was doing by the police, the Libyan had dropped his loot and sprinted off down the road. He was arrested further down the road.

In his statement to police, Elaidy had claimed to have found the TV “under a tree” in Paceville. The court, however was not at all convinced by this account, pointing out that the man's reaction to being challenged by the police cast some doubt on his version.

The court was convinced that he had been participating in the burglary, in spite of him not being apprehended whilst actually carrying the TV set and the absence of his fingerprints at the crime scene.

The magistrate also noted that with regards to the second man accused, Abderraouf Barchech, none of the police officers had successfully identified the driver of the white Peugeot. However, in his statement, Barchech had placed himself at the scene of the crime, claiming to have stopped near a taxi rank, parking behind a stationary police car, buying a pizza before heading home.

He had also admitted that the getaway car had been leased to his wife.

However inconsistencies between the testimonies of Barchech and his wife were held to have seriously undermined their credibility.

This led the court to the moral conviction that the evidence, both direct and circumstantal, pointed to the guilt of the two men.

Noting that Elaidy was a serial offender and had not learned from several opportunities afforded to him by the courts, he was handed a 24-month sentence to which another 12 months were added as he had breached a probation order. A further 24 months were added with the activation of a suspended sentence he had been handed by a previous court, bringing the total sentence to 60 months.

Barchech, on the other hand, was handed a 30-month sentence after the court noted that he already had two previous convictions.

Inspectors Joseph Mercieca and Carol Fabri prosecuted.