Man remanded in custody after assaulting woman, stealing handbag in Paceville

25-year-old Eritrean man had reportedly tried to lift up a woman's skirt, forcing her to resist and drop her handbag. 

A 25-year-old man was remanded in custody today after he was charged with assaulting a woman and stealing her handbag while Paceville.

Yemane Teklom Zerislase, from Eritrea, denied charges against him – assaulting the woman, stealing a handbag that contained a mobile phone worth €300, and being drunk in public.

Prosecuting officer Nikolai Sant said that the woman, a foreign national, was walking through Paceville at around 2am last night when Zerislase grabbed the handbag that was hanging from her shoulders.

When the woman resisted, the accused tried to lift up her skirt to force her to drop the handbag. As she tried to keep her skirt down, Zerislase saw his chance, grabbed the handbag and ran off.

Two Italian men in the vicinity ran after the accused and managed to stop him. The police were informed, arrested the man, and returned the stolen items to the woman.

The accused had initially admitted to the charges, but he changed his tune when the police warned him that being drunk was not an excuse and that he could get imprisoned for his crime.

In court, the man asked for an Eritrean interpreter, saying he had a very poor grasp of English. However, no interpreter was available.

His legal aid lawyer Christopher Chircop requested bail, but Nikolai Sant warned against it due to fear that the accused could abscond. The inspector argued that Zerislase had failed to provide an exact address.

The court, presided by magistrate Monica Vella, refused bail and ordered that the man be remanded in custody. 

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