Fierce dog ruse failed to trick officers searching farm for drugs, court told

The accused has been charged along with another man with the possession of 1.2kg of heroin

More than 1kg of heroin was found at Fenech's farm in Siggiewi
More than 1kg of heroin was found at Fenech's farm in Siggiewi

A court hearing evidence against a man accused of hiding drugs in a chicken coop in Siggiewi has been told that the place where the drugs were found was, essentially, accessible to the public.

Horace Fenech, 42, from Siġġiewi, was arraigned last week on aggravated drug possession charges, with the court refusing a request for bail.

A kilogramme of heroin and some cannabis were found by the police, concealed under a chicken coop on his farm at Fawwara, limits of Siggiewi.

A number of police officers testified before magistrate Doreen Clarke, describing the surveillance operation they had put in place around his farm. A certain Terence Cini, who was the subject of information relating to a drug deal had been followed by police who observed him driving a Peugeot Partner to Fenech’s farmhouse.

Cini was found to be carrying cannabis and a bag of white powder, as well as an undisclosed amount of cash in the vehicle.

His arrest was followed by that of Fenech, who was stopped and taken into custody just outside the farm’s gate. What the police suspect to be cannabis was found on his person, together with mobile phones.

The farm was closed off with a gate that was bolted shut and had no locks. The court heard how Fenech had tried to dissuade police from searching a chicken coop in which the drugs were later found to be hidden, saying that it was close to a fierce and dangerous dog whom he was looking after for a friend. But officers found the dog to be docile, the court was told.

Lawyer Franco Debono, appearing for Fenech together with lawyer Amadeus Cachia, took the opportunity to point out that if the dog was harmless, it further strengthened the argument that anyone could have placed the drugs there. He asked if there were any locks or security measures besides the bolt. There were none, replied the officer. It was further pointed out by the defence that the farm was surrounded by a low wall and that some areas had no wall at all.

Debono requested bail for the defendant, who is still in police custody. The court will hear submissions on bail during the next sitting on the 19 September.

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