Drug addict charged with thefts from vehicles

A Zabbar man under withdrawal from drugs, has pleaded not guilty to charges aggravated theft, criminal damage to property and handling stolen goods due to him 'not being in a position to communicate with clarity or be lucid in his answers'

After his arrest, the accused had asked to be taken to Mount Carmel, as he had a intractable drug problem
After his arrest, the accused had asked to be taken to Mount Carmel, as he had a intractable drug problem

A 38-year-old HGV driver from Zabbar has been remanded in custody on charges of aggravated theft, criminal damage to property and handling stolen goods.

Prosecuting police inspectors Spiridione Zammit and Chantelle Casha told magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras how police had seen CCTV footage of the man as he and an accomplice had stolen diesel fuel and other items from a Toyota van that was parked in Fgura during the night of 23 November.

The accused was also charged with stealing batteries, belonging to a government department, from another van, parked in Cospicua on 22 November. The third accusation against the man was of aggravated theft of diesel from a parked truck at the Corradino Industrial Estate, also on the night of 22 November and of damaging the truck. He was also charged with handling stolen goods.

After his arrest, the accused had asked to be taken to Mount Carmel, as he had a intractable drug problem, the court was told.

“We had CCTV footage of the incident and we showed them to him this morning to have him confirm them.

Defence lawyer Noel Camilleri entered a plea of not guilty and expressed reservations about this as the man had not been assisted by a lawyer at the time, but the Inspector replied that the man had refused legal representation.

The accused, who appeared to walk with great difficulty in court today, is understood to have been suffering withdrawal symptoms. Camilleri said the defence would be entering a plea of not guilty “because at this stage, in view of the physical and mental state of the accused, he is not in a position to communicate with clarity or be lucid in his answers.”

Inspector Zammit said the prosecution was in a position to arraign the accused a week ago but had released him on police bail in order to be certain that the accused is in better health. At the time of his arrest, the accused “was not in a presentable state of dress or appearance,” he said. In the meantime and in order to continue his investigation, the accused was being treated at Mount Carmel Hospital.

Camilleri, noting a medical certificate issued by Mount Carmel Hospital, said he would not be requesting bail at this stage, instead requesting the court place the accused in the Forensic Unit at hospital.

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