Man accused of being burglar's accomplice insists he was 'just giving someone a lift'

The police inspector objected to the man's bail because the investigation was still ongoing and due to the police's belief that the man had a drug problem 

An elderly man with an apparent drug problem has been remanded in custody after he was charged with complicity in a burglary.

Anthony Balzan, 63, from Qormi, pleaded not guilty to charges of complicity in burglary, handling stolen goods, committing an offence during the operative period of a suspended sentence and recidivism.

Inspectors Roderick Agius and Shaun Friggieri told magistrate Marseanne Farrugia that the man had been arrested in connection with the burglary of a house in Qormi which occurred last week. 

Lawyer Lennox Vella requested bail.

He denies being on drugs but we have reason to believe that he is using, both due to his appearance and the company he’s keeping. Inspector Roderick Agius

Inspector Agius objected. The police were still investigating the crime and had identified a person who is yet to be arrested, the inspector said. There are other persons who had been spoken to by the police and who are yet to testify, he added. He also objected to bail for the man’s well being.

“He’s in a bad state and would benefit from a supervision order whilst under arrest to help him find his feet. He denies being on drugs but we have reason to believe that he is using, both due to his appearance and the company he’s keeping. He’s living in a garage in Qormi. The owner is under arrest and the owner's mother changed the lock. Everything indicates that he has a problem," the inspector said.

During today’s sitting, Balzan was perplexed at why he was in the dock and insisted that all he did was give someone a lift.

Vella pointed out that the accused was advanced in his years and a family man. “Prison is not his place”, said the lawyer.

The Court denied bail in view of the fear of the accused interfering with witnesses, but in view of the circumstances of the case, the magistrate issued a provisional supervision order, under which the man was to be given all the assistance and treatment he needed to get better.

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