The Malta Independent 23 January 2020, Thursday

Defence lawyer says man charged with stealing bike ‘chased by drug dealers for old debts’

Monday, 8 July 2019, 14:00 Last update: about 8 months ago

A man has been denied bail after being charged with stealing a motorcycle in Fgura.

Leslie Farrugia, 27, from Cospicua appeared in the dock before magistrate Rachel Montebello, accused of stealing a Yamaha Sigma motorcycle, aggravated by value, nature of the object stolen and time, from Triq Haz-Zabbar in Fgura, during the early hours of 20 June.

Inspector Paul Camilleri told the court how, after the motorcycle had been stolen, police had received an anonymous tip off that the bike was at the accused’s residence. Police had also seen CCTV of the theft at around the same time and identified the accused.


Farrugia was arrested and had handed the stolen motorcycle back to the police.

In court this afternoon, defence counsel Peter Paul Zammit entered a plea of not guilty to the charges on behalf of the accused.

Zammit requested bail, explaining how he had been following the accused’s progress for many years as he had come back from drug addiction and imprisonment and was making headway. Farrugia had been clean for many years, said the defence, but was being chased by drug dealers for old debts. The man had been bombarded with “constant threats,” he said.

The defence said that the accused could shed light on other, connected, crimes. But in order to overcome his drug problem and put it behind him, he cannot carry on meeting his friends, said Zammit.
“If he goes to prison he will definitely relapse into drug use,” he added.

“I am asking for bail and that the police assist him in dealing with the problems with these people, ” Zammit said.

The inspector pointed out that the accused had not reported the pressure from his friends, who he however agreed were bad news. The prosecution objected to bail due to the fear that the accused would commit further crimes, amongst other reasons.

The court denied bail, saying it was not convinced that the accused would observe the conditions of his release.

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