€50,000 bail bond for alleged cocaine trafficker

In granting bail, the court noted that, the accused's criminal record, while not spotless, wasn't a 'terrifying' one

The alleged cocaine trafficker was released on bail against a deposit of €25,000 and a personal guarantee of €25,000
The alleged cocaine trafficker was released on bail against a deposit of €25,000 and a personal guarantee of €25,000

A man accused of trafficking cocaine has been granted bail against a €50,000 bond after spending a month in custody.

Josef Mahouchi had been arrested in January together with another man from Holland, who had admitted to conspiracy to traffic some 300 grams of cocaine and possession of drugs in a manner denoting they were not for his personal use.

Mahouchi, however, denied the charges and had been remanded in custody.

In a decree handed down yesterday, Judge Consuelo Scerri Herrera presiding the Criminal Court, upheld an application filed by defence lawyer Mario Mifsud to grant the man bail.

Mifsud had argued that despite his foreign surname, the accused was Maltese and had strong ties to the island. In addition, he had cooperated fully with the police and the majority of the case’s civilian witnesses had already testified.

The Attorney General had argued that the charges were serious and that the accused was not trustworthy, as he had allegedly committed an offence whilst under a suspended sentence.

The court noted that the seriousness of the offence with which the accused is charged should not be seen in isolation. It also reviewed his criminal record and observed that, although it was not spotless and had a number of minor convictions, “it cannot be said that it is a terrifying criminal record, as this court is often faced with.”

On the fact that there were still witnesses yet to testify, the court said it felt that in order to hear a witness, it did not necessarily need to leave the accused without bail.

For these reasons, the court released Mahouchi on bail, against a deposit of €25,000 and a personal guarantee of €25,000, ordering him to sign a bail book twice daily and observe a curfew.

Inspector Anthony Scerri prosecuted, whilst lawyer Elaine Mercieca appeared on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General. Lawyer Mario Mifsud is counsel to Mahouchi.

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