18 months prison, deportation for would-be hotel room thief

A 48-year-old Syrian has been jailed for 18 months and ordered to be deported to Italy for stealing from a Gozo hotel and being in possession of cocaine 

Mohammed Samer, a 48-year-old man from Syria, has been jailed for 18 months and ordered to be deported to Italy for stealing from a Gozo hotel and being in possession of cocaine.

Samer was arraigned before the court of magistrates in Gozo, accused of stealing three watches from a hotel room in Ghajnsielem in October 2018, handling stolen goods and simple possession of cocaine. He was also accused of being a recidivist, having been convicted of theft on more than one occasion in the past.

The police had been dispatched to the hotel on October 28 2018, finding the accused on the floor, being knelt on by his would-be victim, with blood around his mouth.

“I got this thief from my room. He was inside…he stole all my watches,” the man had told the officers, who had then called an ambulance.

In his statement to the police, the accused had admitted to entering the hotel room, but claimed to have done so to find some cocaine, because he had alleged that he had brought drugs from the room’s occupant the day before. 

Samer admitted to the police that he had stolen the three watches and cash, which were later returned to their rightful owner.

The police had also investigated the victim over the cocaine allegation but it emerged that it was a lie.

Magistrate Joseph Mifsud observed that it was an absolute minority of what he referred to as “guests” who did not abide by the law of the land. “We will welcome you amongst us and continue to build our global reputation [of hospitality]…but you must respect the country’s laws.” These few misfits were casting a shadow on others who lived an exemplary life, said the court.

The magistrate encouraged the Principal Immigration Officer to use the powers granted by the law and not to hold back from repatriating those who commit grave or alarming crimes.

Samer was found guilty and jailed for 18 months, as well as being fined €100 and ordered to pay court expenses. The court also instructed the immigration authorities to repatriate the accused to Italy, where he had grown up, after serving his sentence.