Lawyer lambasts prosecution for adding charges after interrogation

The lawyer accused the prosecuting inspector of adding charges to ‘add colour’ to his case

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

A 36-year-old man from Cospicua has been remanded in custody after he pleaded not guilty to harassing and threatening his former girlfriend, with his lawyer accusing the police of adding charges after his interrogation.

Frederick Dalli was arraigned before magistrate Gabriella Vella and accused of causing the woman, who is herself on bail for other offences, to fear violence, harassing her and breaching a protection order issued against him and in her favour.

Dalli was also accused of driving a Mercedes without a driving licence and insurance, and breaching bail.

Inspector Eman Hayman, prosecuting, asked the court to confiscate the man’s €21,000 bail bond. He explained that the woman had reported the accused to the police for stalking her, having allegedly found him outside her front door on a number of occasions.

At one point during this morning’s sitting, the court admonished the accused for laughing and looking back at his girlfriend, who was present in the courtroom.

Lawyer Mario Mifsud, defending the accused together with lawyers Franco Debono, Marion Camilleri and Arthur Azzopardi, railed at the prosecution for adding charges after the man’s interrogation.

“It is unacceptable to try and trip up the accused in this manner,” said the lawyer, adding that the woman would often contact the accused herself when she needed his help.

She had been driving to Fgura and saw him, explained the inspector, adding that the man had “stopped, performed a burnout and drove off”. The inspector said that in this case, there was a course of conduct amounting to harassment, as well as a clear breach of the previous protection order and the man’s bail conditions.

Mifsud countered, however, pointing out that at no time did the police stop the accused from driving a car.

“He just took her word for it. We have the parte civile admitting with the inspector that she is breaching her bail conditions, which said that she could not drive. Here we have a charge against Frederick Dalli but not against her for breaching bail.”

“I appeal to the prosecution …to be careful not to take sides. You spent an hour interrogating him on messages and phone calls and there was no mention of driving or violence,” pointed out the lawyer, angrily.

“Do you have people who drive without a licence and don’t prosecute and then pick on the accused?”

He accused the inspector of adding the charges to “add colour” to his case.

The victim could easily testify today, he said, pointing to her in the courtroom.

The court, however, ruled the arrest was valid. Dalli pleaded not guilty and requested bail.

This was denied in view of the nature of the charges, with the court urging the prosecution to summon the man’s girlfriend to testify at the next sitting.

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