Appeals court confirms bail for man accused of domestic violence

The judge declared that there appeared to be no imminent danger of tampering with evidence

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

A judge has confirmed a decree granting bail to a man who had allegedly threatened his partner before attempting to escape from police custody.

In a decision handed down just hours after her inaugural sitting, Madam Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera confirmed the decision on bail for 37-year-old Charles Buhagiar from Xghajra.

He had been granted bail upon his arraignment last week over the alleged threats to a woman with whom he had been in an on and off relationship.

The man had allegedly caused a disturbance at his partner’s house in the early hours of the morning, before trying to escape from the Cospicua police station, disobeying legitimate orders, and threatening one of the police officers involved.

A request for bail had been upheld by the presiding magistrate against a deposit of €1,000, a personal guarantee of €5,000 and a Protection Order stopping the man from approaching his partner or her relatives.

The Attorney General had filed an appeal against the decree, asking the Court of Appeal to revoke the man’s bail on the grounds that the victim and a number of police officers were still to testify, as well as the fact that the man had faced similar charges in the past.

In her decision on the matter, in which Madam Justice Scerri Herrera made many detailed references to local and European case law, the new judge described granting or withholding bail as “a very important and delicate matter” which could not be taken lightly.

The court ruled that the Court of Magistrates had not exercised its discretion in a mistaken manner, but had been fully aware that the alleged victim and a number of officers were still to testify, yet had had chosen to grant the man bail.

She observed that the first court had also been well aware of the man’s criminal record and of his character, but had chosen to grant him bail nonetheless, issuing a Protection Order for the length of the proceedings.

The judge declared that at this stage there appeared to be no imminent danger of tampering with evidence, confirming the granting of bail.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia were defence counsel.

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