Denied bail on charges he attacked a bus driver
An argument over expired tickets erupted in Floriana, a court was told
A man accused of assaulting a bus driver in Floriana last Sunday following an argument over expired tickets was today remanded in custody after pleading not guilty to charges against him.
Omar Joseph Trabelsi, 27, from Kirkop, wearing a grey suit and sports slippers, stands charged with attempted grievous bodily harm of the 40-year-old bus driver, causing him slight injuries. Mr Travelsi was further charged with having threatened, molested and assaulted the victim, whose glasses were also damaged in the assault.
The prosecution strongly objected to granting Mr Trabelsi bail, pointing out that since the main witness was the bus driver himself and Mr Trabelsi was a regular commuter on public transport, the latter could easily approach the victim.
In rebutting the argument, the defence argued that the man had only been slightly injured and asked why the only civilian witness in the case, namely the victim himself, had not been summoned to testify.
Singling out Mr Trabelsi's mother, who was seated at the back of the courtroom, the defence lawyer insisted that her client had a fixed residence, a stable job and a family who resided in Malta. This meant that there was no fear of the accused absconding from the island to escape justice.
However the court, presided by magistrate Grazio Mercieca, denied bail on account of the fact that the victim was still to testify and also to avoid any potential tampering with evidence.
A look of incredulity on Mr Trabelsi's face soon gave way to tears of dismay as his lawyer explained to him that he would have to return to police custody.
Inspectors Priscilla Caruana Lee and Jeffrey Scicluna prosecuted. Lawyer Yanika Camilleri was defence counsel.