Brothers charged with Valletta stabbing

The two men were denied bail as the prosecution described their criminal records as 'vast'

The court heard how the victim's grievous injuries were believed to be caused by a screwdriver
The court heard how the victim's grievous injuries were believed to be caused by a screwdriver

Two brothers have been charged with stabbing a man in an argument in Valletta on Sunday.

Sylvester James, 33 and Reginald James, 29, from Hamrun appeared before duty magistrate Neville Camilleri on Tuesday morning, accused of attempting to cause grievous injury to the man when they stabbed him with an object, thought to be a screwdriver. The brothers were also accused of breaching the peace.

Police said that an argument had broken out in a block of flats in Valletta and the accused men had allegedly gone to assist a friend of theirs who was involved.

Sylvester James was separately accused of inflicting the stab wounds and carrying a sharp or pointed instrument in public without a licence or permission. His brother, Reginald, was separately accused of slightly injuring the man.

The court was asked to treat the men as recidivists, with prosecuting inspector Jeffrey Scicluna describing their criminal records as “vast.”

The accused pair, their faces heavily tattooed, pleaded not guilty to the charges. Their lawyer, Frank Cassar, requested bail for the men. The prosecution objected, due to the fact that civilian witnesses, among them the victim and his wife, had not yet testified.

The charges were not that grave as to require their continued detention, rebutted the lawyer. Bail could be granted under very strict conditions, he said, adding that in the worst scenario they could be held under house arrest, “but not prison just because of a fear that they would speak with witnesses.”

Magistrate Camilleri disagreed, however, denying them bail both due to the circumstances of the case and to the nature of the charges. The court said it was not convinced that were the accused to be granted bail, they would be able to adhere to the conditions imposed on them. The fact that the injured party was yet to testify was also a factor in the decision, said the magistrate.

The prosecution was invited to summon its witnesses at the first opportunity.