Man charged over August throat-slash mugging

Rawad Briga Abdelsalam was arraigned before a court, accused of the attempted murder of a woman whose throat he slashed during a mugging in St Julian’s last August

A Libyan man has been charged with slashing the throat of a Maltese woman during a mugging in St Julian’s last August.

Inspectors Saviour Baldacchino and Trevor Micallef arraigned 31-year-old quarry worker Rawad Briga Abdelsalam from Tarxien before magistrate Marseanne Farrugia this afternoon, accusing him of the attempted homicide of a 25-year-old woman from Marsaxlokk.
The attack occurred in Sqaq Lourdes, St Julian’s on 28 August at around 4:20am.

The accused is thought to have approached the victim and her friend, a 33-year-old woman from Poland, and tried to steal their handbags. At one point, the man took out a knife and tried to cut the Maltese woman’s throat  before making off with her handbag. Photos taken at the scene of the crime showed a blood-stained pavement, while a nearby car was also covered in blood.

The victims were given first aid by passers-by who also called an ambulance. The Maltese woman was then taken to Mater Dei Hospital, where she was treated for serious, although not life-threatening, injuries. MaltaToday is informed that the woman is on the road to recovery.

This afternoon, the Libyan was charged with grievously injuring and causing permanent disfigurement to the woman as well as with stealing her handbag, which contained a smartphone and €20 in cash.

News reports indicate that he had been convicted of a similar bag-snatch theft in 2014. In fact, today Briga Abdelsalam was also charged with relapsing, as well as breaching the peace, carrying a weapon at the time of the commission of a violent offence and breaching the peace.

Lawyer Fransina Abela requested the court appoint a psychiatrist to evaluate the man’s sanity. The prosecution, however, objected. Inspector Baldacchino explained that the accused was already being held in prison for other crimes and at no stage was it alleged that he suffered from any psychiatric problems.

Abela told the court that the accused had declared in his statement that he had drunk a bottle of vodka immediately before committing the crime. “And pills” the accused interjected. This was not the actions of a person of sound mind, she said. The accused piped up again, claiming to have taken 10 pills “tas-salib” that he had been given by a friend “so he might sell them.” “They’re called Rivotril. I drank two bottles of vodka with them.”

The court appointed a psychiatrist to assess the accused, warning him that he would be bearing the costs if nothing was found to be wrong with him.

No request for bail was made and the accused was remanded in custody.

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