The Malta Independent 22 February 2020, Saturday

Man on bail for murder charged with violent robbery

Monday, 19 August 2019, 15:44 Last update: about 6 months ago

A man on bail for a number of crimes, including murder, has been charged as the third man behind a violent robbery at the home of an elderly woman earlier this month.

Unemployed Bugibba resident Ramzi Abdulhafid Ib Abukem, 37, from Libya was arraigned under arrest before magistrate Astrid May Grima on Monday afternoon.

The arraignment brings to a positive close a police investigation conducted under well-founded fears that the accused men would succeed in escaping or absconding. "If he got away this time, he'd be in the wind," one source explained.

Abukem is the third person to be charged in connection with the armed robbery which took place on 10 August;  Jassem Al Tahr and Ans Ghodban were arraigned in separate sittings earlier this month.

During those arraignments, Senior Inspector Fabian Fleri, and Inspectors Lydon Zammit and Kylie Borg had explained to the court how an elderly woman had been robbed at knifepoint in her home in Triq Marsamxett, Valletta by a gang of three persons. The victim was injured during the robbery.

Abukem was arrested last Monday at a flat in Msida, but had been taken to hospital, from where he was referred to psychiatric care. He was discharged from Mount Carmel Hospital as fit to stand trial and was brought to court soon afterwards.

Senior Police Inspector Fabian Fleri, and Inspectors Lydon Zammit and Kylie Borg, prosecuting, told the court that Abukem was out on four sets of bail conditions, one of them for the murder of Mahmoud Elmejdi who was beaten and stabbed to death in Hamrun in May 2018. His total bail guarantees amount to over €96,000.

Legal aid lawyer Benjamin Valenzia, defending the accused, informed the court that the accused would be pleading not guilty to the charges.

Bail was not requested at this stage, with the defence however asking that the man be treated for a ingrown toenail. The accused, who had previously limped into the courtroom, obligingly took off his shoe, unbidden, to show the court the offending digit.

Magistrate Grima ordered the director of Corradino prison to provide the accused with a medical examination and all necessary treatment.

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