Court denies bail to trio accused of assaulting elderly man in wheelchair

The two men and a woman accused of breaking into the elderly man's house plead not guilty

The elderly man had told Police officers how the assailants threatened to burn his house down and beat him up if he went to police
The elderly man had told Police officers how the assailants threatened to burn his house down and beat him up if he went to police

Three people have been charged with assaulting and robbing an elderly man in a wheelchair at his home in Birzebbugia.

Antoine Galea, 42, from Zejtun, Donna Borg, 25, of no fixed address and Ronald Gerada, 41, from Zabbar were charged with committing theft, aggravated by violence, on their 79 year-old victim. The trio were also charged with recidivism and breaching various bail decrees.

Inspector Lydon Zammit told magistrate Doreen Clarke that the police had acted on an anonymous report of an elderly man being robbed. Officers had spoken to the victim, who told them what had happened. He had been scared of making a report because his assailants knew where he lived and had threatened to burn his house down and beat him up if he went to the police. Some €700 were stolen.

The inspector explained that CCTV from near the victim’s house showed Galea and Borg running into the residence with Gerada circling the block in the getaway car. A warrant was issued and the trio were arrested.

In court this morning, the three pleaded not guilty and requested bail.

The prosecution objected to their release, however, pointing out that the crime was serious and had been committed on an elderly, disabled, person. “There was aggression on the man who couldn’t defend himself,” explained Inspector Zammit. Moreover, the elderly man still needs to testify, he added. The three accused grumbled and tut-tutted loudly as the inspector objected to bail.

Lawyer Martin Fenech argued that Borg would often go to help the victim at his house and “just happened to be there at the time.”

Lawyer Franco Debono suggested that strict bail conditions and supervision could be imposed on the accused if released from arrest.

But the court denied bail to the accused, both in view of the gravity of the offence and the vulnerability of the principal witness. The accused were untrustworthy, something reflected in their criminal record, said the court.

Inspectors Fabian Fleri and Lydon Zammit prosecuted.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia appeared for Galea and Gerada, whilst lawyer Martin Fenech was appointed as legal aid to Borg.

More in Court & Police