A 51-year-old man from Cospicua has been imprisoned for 24 months over breaking-and-entering as well as aggravated theft of two separate apartments in Birkirkara.
The theft took place on 31 December 2004, when the police received a report about a suspicious man being seen in Brared Street, Birkirkara. Upon arriving on the scene, the police found the accused, Brian Sammut, inside the apartment block where the crime took place with tools generally used for forced entry.
Following an investigation of the two apartments, it was found that there had been some form of tampering inside both, while a number of items went missing.
Among the considerations made by the court, it noted that the statement delivered by the accused in January 2005 was not made after Mr Sammut was given access to a lawyer in order to consult. The ensuing references made to the same statement in various testimonies, and the statement itself, were thrown out by the court and not taken into consideration. Laws dictating access to a lawyer before and during police interrogation only came into force over the past 12 months.
One of the victims testified in court to have had some €3,028 (Lm1,300) worth of gold missing. While another testified to there having been some €700 damage to the communal door of the apartment block.
Magistrate Neville Camilleri, presiding over the case, therefore found Mr Sammut guilty of theft on two counts, due to the thefts which took place in both of the apartments within the block in question. Sammut was also found guilty of being in possession of items intended to be used for irregular purposes, referring to the tools with which the accused used to break into the apartment block.
He was also found guilty of relapsing, after he had been conditionally discharged for a crime in December 2003 as long as he does not commit another crime for a period of three years.
Charges of voluntarily causing harm to the property of a third party were dropped as a result of limited access to a lawyer before being interrogated by the police.
The courts therefore sentenced the accused to 24 months, or two years, imprisonment.
Superintendent Kevin Farrugia prosecuted.