Man accused of stabbing brother in the neck over tobacco argument

The 62-year-old was obsessed with the thought that his brother had better tobacco than him - so he allegedly stabbed him in the neck

A man thought to be suffering from mental health problems was remanded in custody on Monday, accused of stabbing his brother in the neck during an argument over tobacco.

The 62-year-old Naxxar resident cut a dishevelled figure in the dock during his arraignment before Magistrate Astrid May Grima in the afternoon, dressed in tattered clothes and his hair and beard both long and unkept. The court was told that the defendant was unemployed.

Sources explained that the man, who used to live in the same house as the victim, had become obsessed with the thought that his brother had better tobacco than him. 

The obsession translated into action on 17 December, when the victim is understood to have been ambushed and stabbed in the neck by the defendant whilst walking down the stairs at their home. 

Police Inspector Christian Cauchi, assisted by prosecutor Cynthia Ellul Sciberras from the Office of the Attorney General, exhibited a penknife that had been seized from the defendant at the time of his arrest.

Cauchi accused the man of inflicting grievous injury to his brother, without the intent to kill, a charge that was aggravated by the defendant’s close family relationship with the victim.

He was also charged with causing the victim to fear violence, threatening him and exceeding the limits of provocation, as well as attacking his brother in a bid to annoy him or cause him harm.

Lawyer Mario Caruana, representing the defendant as legal aid counsel, told the court that the man was pleading not guilty. Bail was not requested at this stage, with the defence lawyer informing the court that his client had only just been released from psychiatric care before the incident. 

He asked the magistrate to recommend that the prison authorities provide the medical assistance that the man required, together with a medical and psychological assessment in order to assign him to the apposite section of the prison.