Both HSBC hold-up suspects granted bail after less than three months’ custody

The two men charged with attempting to hold-up the HSBC depot in Qormi and the subsequent shoot-out with police officers were granted bail after less than three months in custody.

Vincent Muscat and Darren Debono were granted bail by the Magistrates' Court when, just weeks ago, police were outraged at the court’s decision to grant bail to HSBC Bank hold-up suspect Muscat. Following an appeal by the Attorney General, he was re-arrested again last week.

Despite this, both men were now granted bail - the second time for Muscat.

Described as a ‘danger to society’ by prosecutors, 48 year-old Vince Muscat, known as 'il-Kohhu' stands charged with the attempted murder of two police officers in a daring heist on the bank’s headquarters in Qormi where more than 60 shots were fired at police, alongside Darren Debono, 38.

The two submitted a fresh application for bail, after evidence connected with the case was heard. The Attorney General was given a day's chance to appeal before the bail decision becomes effective.

Bail for both men was given against a deposit of €5,000 and personal guarantee of €15,000.

During the incident, three men, wearing wigs and fake moustaches had entered the HSBC building in Qormi at about 7.30 p.m. The police arrived on the scene after receiving a tip-off about suspicious activity at the building and, on their arrival, a vehicle, parked in front of the bank, sped off with the officers giving chase.

Three men were still inside the bank when someone called for help and the officers returned. When the intruders tried to leave, a shootout erupted in which about 60 bullets were fired. During the commotion, a second getaway car managed to escape with all the intruders.

Arrests started being made when Debono turned up at a private clinic asking to be treated for a bullet wound to the jaw.

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