Court seizes Sliema house burglar's €30,000 bail bond

The man had fled Malta after a court found that there was enough evidence for him and four alleged accomplices to stand trial for a string of buglaries in the Sliema and St Julian's area back in 2015

The gang of alleged burglars was arrested by the police back in October 2015
The gang of alleged burglars was arrested by the police back in October 2015

An alleged member of a criminal burglary gang who terrorised Maltese homes back in 2015 has been rearrested after skipping bail and fleeing to France.

Kartlos Dolaberidze absconded from Malta last summer whilst on bail for charges related to his alleged involvement in a criminal gang which carried out a number of robberies in the Sliema and St Julian's area three years ago.

The Georgian man was arrested in the south of France on the strength of a European Arrest Warrant issued by the Maltese authorities for Dolaberidze and four other persons who had originally been arraigned in September 2015. They were charged with carrying out a string of 28 burglaries.

After he was arrested by the French Gendarmes, Dolaberidze was escorted to Malta by Maltese police officers. So far, there has been no trace of the other four gang members.

Read more: Bump-key thieves strike again in Sliema

Inspector Fabian Fleri gave the court an explanation of what had led to the proceedings.

“The accused was granted bail by the Criminal Court in May 2017. The month after, the accused failed to appear in court, having fled…the accused was found in France in May 2018 and was extradited. He was found in possession of false Slovakian documents and was identified through facial recognition, fingerprints and DNA analysis. He was returned to Malta yesterday.”

Inspectors Fabian Fleri, Kurt Farrugia and Jonathan Ransley asked for the court proceedings to be split to allow Dolaberidze to be prosecuted separately from the other accused, who are still on the run. This request was granted.

The police also requested the revocation of his bail and the €30,000 personal guarantee to be surrendered to the government of Malta.

But lawyers Shazoo Ghaznavi and Charlon Gouder argued that he could only face proceedings on the crime specified in the European Arrest Warrant and not on his breaching of his bail conditions, as this was not mentioned in the warrant.

Ghaznavi also asked whether an inferior court could put into effect a guarantee imposed by the superior courts.

A complex legal argument ensued over whether the law made the forfeiture of the bail security mandatory and whether it was requested properly, with both sides making elaborate submissions.

The law didn’t contemplate a scenario where the police do not request the forfeiture of a guarantee and then request it at a later stage, said Ghaznavi. “With all due respect…it is a sui generiss scenario. He isn’t accused of breaching bail and can’t be because he wasn’t brought to Malta for breaching bail. Also, the request for the forfeiture was not made at the time of the request for arrest. Had it been automatic, as the other side is claiming, the law would not specify it as being necessary.”

The court disagreed, however, Magistrate Josette Demicoli saying that there were no fresh charges, only a request to continue proceedings which had already started. She ordered the forfeiture of the €30,000 bond together with the man’s re-arrest. If unpaid, the sum will translate into a maximum of two years’ prison time, over and above any other sentence which he may be handed.

The court’s decree is non-appealable, 

In comments to the MaltaToday, Dolaberidze’s lawyers mooted the possibility of filing a Constitutional case “because there is no legal remedy” for their client.

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