Burglar caught red-handed, pleads guilty

Woman  was caught red-handed during a burglary, released on bail, pending a pre-sentencing report.

A woman who was caught red-handed during a burglary has been released on bail, pending a pre-sentencing report, this afternoon.

Inspector Sandra Zammit arraigned the woman before magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras this afternoon, explaining how the Birkirkara police station had reacted to a report of a burglary in progress during the night of the 11th April 2016 at a Birkirkara nail salon.

"Walking through the door of the salon, which had been forced open, officers found the accused hiding inside, clutching a bag of loot. She had admitted everything to the police," the inspector said.

The salon's owner had told the police that the accused had called at her shop on several occasions, asking for work, or on matters related to nail cosmetics. The court was told that the value of the items stolen amounted to €1,007 and the cost to repair the damage caused by the forced entry was €75.

The accused, who is transgender, deaf and non-verbal, answered questions in sign language with the aid of an interpreter. She admitted to the charges, wiping tears from her eyes as she did. The court explained that the consequences of an admission could include a prison sentence, but the accused reiterated her guilty plea.

In view of the accused's particular situation, the defence's request for a pre-sentencing report was upheld. The prosecution did not object to bail. While the magistrate was mulling the accused's bail conditions, Debono asked the court bear in mind that the accused was currently unemployed, suggesting a personal guarantee.

The woman was released on bail against a personal guarantee of €5,500.

The court ordered the accused to sign a bail book, observe a curfew and not to approach the shop or its owner.

The court upheld a joint request by prosecution and defence that the woman's identity be kept secret, holding that the accused's particular vulnerability merited a ban on the publication of her name.