The Malta Independent 21 May 2024, Tuesday
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Architect charged over thefts from Grand Master's Palace

Wednesday, 24 April 2024, 13:02 Last update: about 27 days ago

An architect has been remanded in custody after she was accused of stealing three vases and a clock  from inside the Grand Master’s Palace during the swearing-in ceremony of President Myriam Spiteri Debono on April 4. 

52-year-old Iklin resident, Ljubia Zivkovic was arraigned under arrest before magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech on Wednesday, to face charges of theft aggravated by person and value, and possession of stolen items of cultural value. The stolen items were reported to be worth something in the region of €13,000 in total.

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Zivkovic pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

Prosecutor Nicholas De Gaetano requested the court to impose a treatment order for substance abuse on the defendant, a request which the court upheld.

Defence lawyer, Rachel Tua, requested bail.

The prosecution objected to that request, pointing out that the woman had recently been convicted of a similar crime, had a substance abuse problem and because the defendant’s co-workers had not yet testified. None of the stolen objects have yet been retrieved, added the prosecutor.

Magistrate Frendo Dimech also observed that the woman was currently the subject of a probation order. 

Tua argued that the woman had a stable job and family ties to the island. “All the alleged evidence, because she is not recognisable from the CCTV footage, has already been preserved,” submitted the lawyer.

The court established that Zivkovic still worked at the palace, but Tua explained that the woman would probably be suspended in view of the charges.

After hearing the submissions on bail, the court moved to dismiss the request, on the grounds that civilian witnesses were yet to testify  the fact that the defendant is already on probation for similar crimes, as well as because the court deemed her untrustworthy.

Police Inspector Darryl Borg and Christina Delia also prosecuted. Kurt Farrugia represented the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage.

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