No bail for drug addict accused of robbing shops in Gzira, Qormi and Hamrun

An alleged thief has been remanded in custody after being accused of breaking into shops in Gzira, Qormi and Hamrun to feed a serious drug habit

An alleged thief has been remanded in custody after being accused of breaking into shops in Gzira, Qormi and Hamrun to feed a serious drug habit.

Inspectors Kylie Borg and Stacy Attard charged Wayne Delia with theft, aggravated by means, value and time, as well as with causing voluntary damage to a shop in Qormi. That break-in took place during the night of 7 January. He was also accused of attempting to break into another shop in Gzira that same night.

CCTV footage had led police to identify Delia, but it was only after he was arrested in Hamrun during a violent robbery of a third commercial outlet in Triq il-Kbira San Guzepp that he was charged with all three robberies.

Besides theft, he was also accused of possession of cocaine, cannabis and heroin as well as with breaching four sets of bail conditions from previous arraignments.

Inspector Kylie Borg explained to magistrate Josette Demicoli that the man had been investigated over the theft on 7 January. Delia had been identified from CCTV footage, she said. He was subsequently arrested in Hamrun on 9 January, just after midnight, following a report that he had broken into a shop there. He was arrested together with another man who is still being investigated, she said.

Delia, 34, who voluntarily resides at Mount Carmel Hospital in Attard, pleaded not guilty to the charges after the magistrate explained them to him.

His lawyer George Anton Buttigieg told the court that the man was pleading not guilty at this stage. Bail was requested and immediately opposed by the prosecution, who argued that there were breaches of previous bail conditions, that the accused hadn’t signed his bail books for a long time and had breached his curfew.

“This is not a spur of the moment crime,” said the inspector. “We had two thefts in one night and the night after that he was also stealing,” she argued, saying that these were only the crimes which the police knew about so far.

The accused had been given a number of opportunities to reform but his criminal record is what it is, she said.

Buttigieg argued that the man was still presumed innocent.

The accused had a very serious drug problem, said the lawyer, explaining that the man was currently resident in a Mount Carmel Hospital ward used for drug addiction treatment.

During his interrogation, the police had picked him up from the hospital and he had not been discharged from the hospital’s care. He was accompanied by a nurse from the psychiatric facility in court today.

Delia was due to attend a Sedqa course in February, said his lawyer, adding that he could only attend if he was on bail. “Otherwise his drug problem will not be addressed.” 

The court, however, denied bail because civilian witnesses were yet to testify and because it felt the accused was not sufficiently trustworthy. The court said it didn’t want to be interpreted as acting as an obstacle to the rehabilitation of the accused, but on the other hand, there were almost three weeks before his rehab stint would start. The court said it felt that this request for bail could be made again at a later stage. 

Bail also required liberty, said the court, pointing out that there were constitutional judgments to this effect and this meant that he could not be detained at Mount Carmel whilst on bail.

Buttigieg asked that the accused, instead of being held under arrest at Corradino Correctional Facility, be sent to the forensic division or be held at Mount Carmel where he was already.

The court, having noted that the request was not a frivolous one and that the accused "truly needed all the assistance possible in order to rehabilitate himself", upheld the request.