The Malta Independent 14 November 2019, Thursday

Teenager pleads not guilty to joyriding and 34 other charges

Wednesday, 16 October 2019, 15:00 Last update: about 28 days ago

A 17-year old has been released on bail after pleading not guilty to joyriding and 34 other charges in a crime likened to video game Grand Theft Auto.

The youngster from Marsa, whose name was banned from publication by the court, was arrested on Tuesday after crashing. 

A traffic policeman had been flagged down by a motorist whose car had been hit by the errant driver.

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The man was standing next to a badly damaged car that had apparently just come to a halt after hitting a wall, said Inspector Pierreguido Saliba. Behind the wheel the badly damaged car was the young man who was being prevented from getting out by the irate other driver. One source described the events as "like a Grand Theft Auto game."

The youth pleaded not guilty to 35 charges relating to four separate episodes of car theft, all of which led to hit-and-run crashes. The incidents took place over the past ten days.

The accused was also charged with damaging third party property, breaching a recently issued Probation Order, as well as committing the alleged offences while under a conditional discharge he had been handed in February.

He had admitted to the police that he had been driving a stolen vehicle, the court was told. 

Police investigations had linked the same youth to another three car thefts in which the stolen vehicle was left abandoned and beyond repair after crashing.

Defence lawyer Victor Bugeja told the magistrate that the youth was ‘a social case,’ approaching the bench to discuss the man’s social and medical problems out of earshot of the public.

A social enquiry report was ordered to be drawn up to assess the underage accused’s home situation.

The prosecution did not object to bail, as long as tough conditions and supervision were imposed.

The Court upheld the request for the youth’s release from arrest, ordering him to sign a bail book four times a week and observe a curfew, against a personal guarantee of €2,000. He was also placed under a temporary supervision order.

 

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