Four youths charged over arson, dangerous car chase

The four youths led the police on a dangerous car chase, evading a number of roadblocks before they were finally arrested

The four led police on a dangerous car chase before they were finally apprehended
The four led police on a dangerous car chase before they were finally apprehended

Four people were arraigned before magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras, over and incident in which a car was set on fire and police led on a dangerous car chase.

Joel Falzon, 23, Danika Cilia, 22, Sylvan Cilia, 20, Paul Farrugia 28 were arraigned under arrest before magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras this morning, accused of arson and conspiracy to commit a crime.

The three men were separately charged with the aggravated theft of a Mercedes, Falzon and Cilia were also accused of stealing a set of number plates and committing a crime whilst under a suspended sentence.

Joel Falzon was further charged with leading police on a car chase, driving recklessly and dangerously, damaging the stolen car and driving it with another car’s number plates and driving without insurance cover.

Inspectors Arthur Mercieca, Godwin Scerri and Spiridione Zammit told the court that on the night of 28 January the police were informed that a car had been set on fire in Mellieha.

The area was surrounded and police were informed that a Mercedes was the getaway car. After leading the police on a large scale chase, in which the Mercedes escaped road blocks, the car was stopped and Falzon was arrested.

Lawyer Joe Giglio told the court that the four persons accused were pleading guilty to some charges and not guilty to others.

Giglio asked that the court in the case against Joel Falzon, Danika Cilia and Sylvan Cilia make a provisional treatment order.

“This is not for drugs, they are not dependent on anything. They need psychological help with the great difficulties they have with their mother. The stolen and burned cars belong to the same person who is the Cilias’ mother’s,” explained the lawyer.

“It will be difficult to break down the barriers between them, but if not addressed these proceedings would not have achieved justice beyond the legal,” Giglio went on. “It isn’t normal that children have this reaction and this sadness about what is happening in their family.”

The court said a temporary supervision order would best be handed down with respect to the accused.

Giglio requested bail. This was opposed by the prosecution on the grounds that the crime was a serious one and two of the accused had been found guilty of similar crimes in the past, one sentence having been handed down less than two months ago.

There were also witnesses yet to testify, said the inspectors.

The defence lawyer, however argued that in reality there is nothing to be tampered with because the accused had effectively admitted to the charges. 

The court granted the accused bail, ordering them to sign a bail book, observe a curfew, deposit €1,000 and provide a personal guarantee of €10,000.

They were prohibited from approaching the civilian witnesses.