Irregular worker who allegedly stole €30 denied bail

The accused, who allegedly broke into a Marsascala restaurant and stole some cash, said he had been working in Malta for only a month

A foreign man who was working irregularly at a fast food joint was denied bail after being charged with stealing €30 from another restaurant.

The court denied bail on the basis that there was a risk he would return to working irregularly if released, therefore breaching one of the bail conditions of not committing any other illegalities.

Stojan Zubic, from Serbia, admitted to the court that he had been living in Malta for just 30 days and had started working at a fast food restaurant in St Julian’s for the last fifteen days but without being in possession of a working Visa. 

He was charged with breaking into a restaurant in Marsascala between 3am and 4am on 9 September and stealing €30 from the cash register. 

Prosecuting officer Eman Hayman submitted a CD in court containing what he claimed was clear footage of the accused breaking and entering and stealing the money. “It’s clear that it’s him,” he told the court.

Zubic pleaded not guilty but said that any CCTV which would place him in the area would be correct since he often went for walks very late at night.

“The video of him breaking into the restaurant was going viral on social media before police knew anything about it. It’s only when anonymous callers called the police station saying that the thief was in a café in the vicinity that we approached him and made the arrest,” the prosecution said. 

The 40-year-old accused repeatedly made the sign of the cross in the courtroom and told the court that he had supplied his employer with all the working requisites, including an ID card, home address and other details. 

“That doesn’t matter. I’m not attributing fault to you for that issue. I’m simply saying that you’re currently working without a working Visa and so you’re working irregularly. I can’t grant you bail,” presiding magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech said.

Court proceedings were conducted in the English language for the benefit of the accused, who does not understand Maltese.

The accused’s legal aid counsel did not contest the arrest but asked for bail because it said that depriving the liberty of someone for €30 was extravagant.

“Are you asking for bail so that he can continue to work illegally?” the court questioned.

“We do not know objectively whether that is true,” defence argued.

“One of the bail conditions is that he should not breach any further laws,” the court said.

The court went on to reuqest that the prosecution investigate the man’s work documents and said that since the accused had no ties to Malta and that he had apparently found no difficulty to violate employment laws as admitted by himself, it did not deem the accused sufficiently trustworthy to abide by any bail guarantee.

Zubic was remanded in police custody. 

More in Court & Police