Gharghur man charged with stabbing 74-year-old cousin in argument over rent

The victim was stabbed four times and had wounds on his left hand and abdomen after an altercation he had over rent payments with his cousin 

The two men involved in the incident are cousins
The two men involved in the incident are cousins

A man in his late fifties has been charged with attempted murder after stabbing his 74-year-old cousin in an argument over rent.

Police Inspectors Keith Arnaud and Roderick Spiteri arraigned Raymond Debono, 58, from Gharghur before magistrate Audrey Demicoli this morning, charging him with attempted murder, grievous bodily harm, carrying a knife during the commission of an offence against the person, carrying a knife in public without a police permit to do so and threatening to kill the 74-year-old victim who is also from Gharghur.

Debono, who works with the Environment and Resources Authority, is alleged to have stabbed his relative four times on Wednesday after a dispute over rent payments turned violent. The victim suffered stab wounds to his left hand and abdomen.

The defence is arguing that the man was provoked and had filed police reports about the victim in the past. His lawyer, Edward Gatt said the man was pleading not guilty to the charges and requested bail.

The request for his release was opposed by the prosecution, who said that what happened two days ago was “not normal” and that there was no provocation. Moreover, the victim and other witnesses were still to testify, said Arnaud.

Gatt told the court that the man’s defence would center around provocation and other legal attenuations. “There was a history of reports by my client on the things that the victim does to him.” The inspector interjected, saying that there was only one such report.

“They are cousins,” the lawyer went on. “There was a trivial argument over rents and it escalated,” he said.

The incident was all captured on CCTV, the court was told. “When the footage was being viewed by the police, they saw a third person in the alley where the incident happened.  But this person cannot give a different account to what is on the footage,” submitted the defence. This third person is understood to be a builder working in the vicinity.

“My client is not going to have a fight with another person for sure,” Gatt assured the court, suggesting that the man could live with relatives in Paola until the case was decided.

The court, however, denied bail, ordering the man be remanded in custody until the victim testifies.

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