Dingli man remanded in custody after chance police drug find

The magistrate turned down the request, saying it was not in the best interests of justice to release the accused on bail at this stage

A self-employed man from Dingli has appeared in court in connection with a chance discovery of a large amount of drugs in his garage.

Magistrate Ian Farrugia heard how in March this year, police responding to a report of a commotion at Herman Sant's residence in Dingli had searched the house as they suspected firearms to be involved. In Sant's garage, the police found not only an unlicensed firearm but also 2,500 ecstasy pills, 250 grams of cocaine and a small amount of cannabis resin.

Inspector Kevin Pulis charged the 44-year-old with possession of psychotropic substances in circumstances indicating that they were not exclusively for his consumption, possession of parts of a cannabis plant, cannabis resin, keeping a firearm without the requisite police licence, threatening and slightly injuring his girlfriend.

Sant pleaded not guilty to the charges and requested bail.

Inspector Pulis argued against this, saying the crime itself was serious and that the police investigation into this case was still in its early stages. They were still establishing facts which may lead to more arrests. Lawyer Gianluca Caruana Curran replied that the accused has a relatively clean conduct, family ties to Malta and a strong support network. He reminded the court that the gravity of the accusations in itslef is not a ground for withholding bail and asked how the accused could possibly tamper with the evidence. “I feel that at this stage, as the accused has cooperated with the police, does not have a severely blemished criminal record, the court can impose conditions to prevent any interference with the investigation.”

After retiring to his chambers for a short while, the magistrate turned down the request, saying it was not in the best interests of justice to release the accused on bail at this stage.

Lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran and Giannella De Marco are defending the accused.

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