No bail for two Somali men arrested in Paceville last night

The Court denies bail to two Somalis who were arrested in Paceville for snatch-and-grab theft and cannabis possession

Two Somali men have been remanded in custody after being arrested for separate offences in Paceville last night.

Inspector Trevor Micallef told Magistrate Francesco Depasquale how the first to be arraigned, 21 year old refuse collector Shaban Adan Jama, was arrested in St. Julians after being identified by the victim of a snatch and grab theft. Jama was accused of aggravated theft, having allegedly torn a chain from around a Russian man's neck before escaping on foot. The incident, which occurred shortly after midnight last night was made more serious by the alleged use of violence.

Lawyer Martin Fenech informed the court that his client was pleading not guilty. Jama was returning from the beach when he saw three Somali men running past. Three drunk Russian men had then singled him out, said the lawyer. He consistently denied stealing any necklaces and pointed out that the Police had  not found any incriminating items on his person. "He was misidentified." The magistrate pointed out that from the police report, he also appeared to have been drunk.

Bail was requested. "He's been in Malta for four years and a clean criminal record. He works and has a fixed residence. There is doubt at this stage, he denies the charges and because it was dark it could easily have been a case of mistaken identity," Fenech said.

Inspector Micallef said the victims had gone to the police station and time had passed before his arrest. "Obviously there was more than one person involved and that is why the necklace was not found." Fenech protested that the man was presumed innocent at this stage

The court, however rejected the bail request due to nature if the offence and the fact that witnesses had not yet testified.

Inspector Micallef also arraigned Mahamed Abib Hashi from Somalia this afternoon, after the 21 year old was found to be in possession of cannabis in Paceville at around 1am this morning.

Hashi pleaded not guilty.

Fenech asked for bail. "The police are saying that he was seen throwing some packets under a car and found empty packets at his house, which he shared with five other people." Only a small amount of cannabis was found, added the lawyer.

Inspector Micallef explained that officers had seen the man throw something under a car, where they later found six packets of drums. More empty packets were found near his bedspace in his apartment, added the inspector.

The Court, in view of the accusation being lodged and in view of the fact that witnesses had not yet testified, denied bail.

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