Man charged with cashing stolen cheques days after presidential pardon

Gaetano Gatt is contesting the charges of having cashed two cheques which had been stolen from the Ta' Xbiex local council

A 44-year-old man who was released from prison on 9 June, having been granted a presidential pardon, has found himself in the dock less than a week later.

Gaetano Gatt from Hamrun was arraigned before magistrate Anthony Vella this morning, accused of cashing two cheques which had been stolen from the Ta' Xbiex local council.

Inspector Jonathan Ferris and Inspector Lara Butters, charged Gatt with fraud, forging a signature on the cheques, making use of false documents and handling goods obtained through theft or fraud.

Sources explained that the accused had bought two blank cheques from a person who has since died for €30 apiece. He is then understood to have made them payable to himself, for €480 each.

Gatt was recently sentenced to two months imprisonment by the Court of Appeal for failing to pay child support to his his estranged wife, but had received a presidential pardon because he remembered that he was carrying the money on his person, moments after the sentence was read out.

Magistrate Vella informed Gatt's lawyer, Simon Micallef Stafrace, that the accused would go to prison if he pleaded guilty.

Gatt pleaded not guilty and requested bail.

The court upheld the request for bail on condition that he sign a bail book three times a week, also ordering the accused to deposit €600 in court and provide a personal guarantee of €4000.