Updated | Jordan Azzopardi denied bail

The alleged drug trafficker’s lawyer argued in court that it was unjust for him to be kept in custody given that he was innocent until proven guilty

Jordan Azzopardi stands accused of masterminding a cocaine and heroin trafficking ring
Jordan Azzopardi stands accused of masterminding a cocaine and heroin trafficking ring

Alleged drug trafficker Jordan Azzopardi has been once again denied bail.

The court, presided over by magistrate Doreen Clarke, denied Azzopardi bail since two witnesses were yet to testify. Moreover, the court said it did not feel that he was a trustworthy individual.

Azzopardi is currently facing no less than 15 charges, including the trafficking of heroin, cocaine and cannabis, from various localities in Malta. 

In a protracted call for bail earlier in the day, defence lawyer Franco Debono told the court that the case had accelerated and matured since March. 

The court could not hear the prosecution’s final two witnesses on Friday — two car dealers — due to them being abroad. 

“While the case has proceeded very efficiently in this court, in the five months since the accused was arraigned, wasn’t there time for these witnesses to be brought before the court? It doesn’t make sense for the accused to be remanded in custody until 2 October, when these witnesses are heard,” Debono said. 

Azzopardi was brought to court in handcuffs by five security personnel from the Corradino Correctional Facility. He has been in police custody since 13 March. Azzopardi was accompanied by his girlfriend in the dock.

His partner, a mother of five who has been charged with drug trafficking and attempting to bribe a witness, had been granted bail in a previous sitting.

“The requisites of justice and good sense grant that the accused shouldn’t be denied bail simply because two witnesses, who are car dealers no less, are yet to testify. Liberty is at stake here, so I grant that we need to hear all witnesses, but it is ironic that the accused is remanded in custody because these same witnesses failed to testify.

“It’s unfair that the accused has to suffer because of these people,” Debono told the court. He added that the most important right in the penal system - the presumption of innocence - should be respected.

“Not to mention the fact that the court can impose any bail conditions it sees fit. Today, a bail mechanism ensures that if any condition is breached, the accused returns to police custody,” Debono concluded.

Franco Debono, Amadeus Cachia and Marion Camilleri were defence counsel.

Inspector Justine Grech prosecuted. 

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