No objection to bail for 'high risk' stalker husband

A man accused of stalking and harassing his estranged wife has been released on bail

A man accused of stalking and harassing his estranged wife has been released on bail and ordered not to approach the woman until the case is decided.

In this case, the accused, who cannot be named by order of the court, had allegedly ignored a protection order prohibiting him from contacting his estranged wife and had been filming outside her home. Yesterday he followed her as she had been going to the police station to file a report against him, police told the court.

Defence lawyer Carm Mifsud Bonnici contested the validity of the arrest. “So she filed a report against her husband, but he did nothing.”

Inspector Sarah Zerafa, prosecuting, retorted that the woman was “very scared of him” and had filed a report because of this. “This is why I arrested him, she says he’s outside her house or her workplace every day.”

When the lawyer continued to insist that the man had done nothing wrong, the inspector informed the court that the case had been classified as “high risk” by Appogg. There were other pending cases against him, she said.

Appogg has been criticised in the past for its automatic high-risk classification in such cases.

The defence argued that this was a one-off event and that things presented before other courts do not matter to this case, but the court ruled the arrest as valid.

The accused pleaded not guilty and requested bail. “He shouldn’t be held in custody until the woman testifies,” said his lawyer. “There can be restrictions placed on the accused.”

The prosecution, - somewhat surprisingly, given the mention of high risk – agreed with the bail submissions and did not oppose his release.

Magistrate Nadine Lia released the man from arrest against a personal guarantee of €3,000, imposing a protection order in favour of the victim which explicitly prohibits him from following her.

The court also banned the publication of the names of the parties.

Lawyers Stephanie Caruana and Rebecca Muscat appeared parte civile for the woman.

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