Man fearing attack on his life calls police, ends up arrested for cannabis possession

The Romanian man was denied bail due to the "serious nature of the accusations"

Traces of cannabis were found all over the shared flat
Traces of cannabis were found all over the shared flat

A man who called the police to report a group of men trying to beat him up at his home ended up in custody after police found a large amount of cannabis in his flat.

Romanian Ivaniciuc Valentin-Ciprian, 31, of Qawra was arraigned before magistrate Josette Demicoli this afternoon, accused of possession of cannabis in circumstances which indicated that it was not intended for his personal use.

Inspector Clayton Camilleri told the court that the accused had called the police because there were four men – one of them a bodybuilder ex-housemate – banging on the door of his shared flat, threatening to kill him. When the police arrived, they found traces of drugs all over the flat as well as a garbage bag containing some 5kg of suspected cannabis in his terrace. €4000 in cash were also recovered.

“There were traces in the kitchen, the dustbin, the washing machine and so on,” said the inspector. The accused didn’t live alone, but shared the flat with another man and his girlfriend. His ex-housemate didn’t work, he said.

Valentin-Ciprian had told the police that he had been in Malta for 18 months and had no idea about the drugs.

In court this afternoon he pleaded not guilty to the charge. His lawyer, Giannella De Marco requested bail.

The prosecution objected to the man’s release from arrest due to the ongoing investigation and the serious nature of the charges. The man lived in rented accommodation and had no ties to Malta. The police were also seeking another person in connection with the case, he said.

De Marco argued that the fact that the charges are serious was not an obstacle to bail at law and that the man had a clean criminal conduct.

The other person being sought was the same person whom the accused said was trying to kill him, added the lawyer. “Am I to be charged and refused bail because I gave the police information about a crime?” she asked.

The accused had a rented place of residence and was prepared to bind himself not to leave the Maltese islands, she said. Furthermore, there were no civilian witnesses to potentially suborn, added the lawyer.

But the inspector maintained his opposition, insisting that the flat was in the accused’s girlfriend’s name, yet he paid the rent and the drugs were found there. “Maybe he invented the story about his friend,” said Inspector Camilleri.

De Marco pointed out that it had been the accused who had called the police in the first place.

The court, after hearing submissions, denied bail at this stage due to the serious nature of the accusations and the lack of guarantees offered by the accused. All of the accused’s assets were frozen, as happens in every drug trafficking case.

The case will continue in June.