Man clings to robbers' car as suitcase with €4,000 is stolen

Man clings to robbers' car as suitcase with €4,000 is stolen

Two taken to court and held behind bars

A man chased robbers who stole his case with €4,000 in it and clung on to their car before being pushed off, a court heard on Wednesday.

The alleged incident happened on Saturday and John Mifsud, 30 of Xagħra and Leanne Chalbi, 30, of San Ġwann, were taken to court on Wednesday and accused of carrying it out. 

Inspector Fabian Fleri gave a description of the incident that was akin to an action film episode.

He said that the victim, a foreign man, was walking in Triq is-Serkin, Marsa last Saturday afternoon when he was stopped, beaten up and robbed of his cash-filled suitcase.

The two arrested persons and another person then drove off in a car.

The victim managed to clamber into the car before being pushed back out. He clung onto the metalwork as the car drove on and was dragged some 60 metres before losing his grip.

CCTV footage from the scene of the crime had led to the identification of the suspects and the getaway car.  The third member of the gang is reportedly still on the run.

The two arrested persons pleaded not guilty to the charges of aggravated theft. Mr Mifsud also denied having driven the car in a dangerous and reckless manner, causing the victim a permanent debility.

The prosecution pointed out that the violent robbery had taken place just a day after Mr Mifsud had benefited from a variation of his bail conditions by a Criminal Court of Appeal, which had replaced a deposit with a personal guarantee of €8,000.

His partner in crime was separately charged with breaching a conditional discharge.

A request for bail was strongly objected to, as Inspector Fleri pointed out that the alleged victim, who had suffered serious leg injuries, was still in hospital. Moreover, the third co-accused was still on the run.

It was also stressed that Mr Mifsud had been released from preventive arrest “just 24 hours” before his alleged involvement in the violent theft.

In the light of these submissions, magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech turned down the request for bail.

Before the start of the arraignment, the magistrate told Mr Mifsud that he had failed to turn up for a hearing in relation to separate proceedings two days ago, thereby incurring a fine.

Inspectors Lydon Zammit and Stacy Attard also prosecuted.

Lawyer Josette Sultana was legal aid counsel to Ms Chalbi, while Dr Carm Mifsud Bonnici was counsel to Mr Mifsud.