HomeShoppingFour men remanded in custody over stabbing at Qormi barber shop

Four men remanded in custody over stabbing at Qormi barber shop

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Four men were remanded in custody in connection with a stabbing at a barber shop in Qormi last week.

The men, all from Homs in Syria, are Alaa Mohamed, 29, Abd Alkarim Zidan, 28, Mohamad Mohamad, 32 and Bashar Mohamad, 29, all residing in Qormi.

They were arraigned under arrest before Magistrate Nadia-Helena Vella on Wednesday. All said they were unemployed, with the exception of Mohamad Mohamad, who told the court he was a plasterer.

Inspector Wayne Bonello, assisted by prosecutor Nicole Marie Sladden from the Office of the Attorney General charged the men with grievously wounding another man with a knife on April 9.

Two of the accused, carrying a bloodstained pair of scissors, had gone to the Qormi police station to report being attacked. At the same time, the police station had received a phone call from the barber shop reporting the incident.

“The man who was grievously injured said that he [Mohamad] had been involved in the fight and had tried to pull him out of the shop o to the street, because the men had been told that there were cameras inside. When he was unable to do so, he pushed the man, causing him to hit his head and feel dizzy,” Bonello told the court.

“So no stabbing?” asked defence lawyer Franco Debono. “No,” replied the inspector.

“So you’re saying that his only involvement was that he pushed him?” pressed the lawyer. The reply was in the affirmative.

All four defendants entered not guilty pleas, with their defence lawyers then requesting bail. The prosecution objected.

Debono said his client had been an occasional visitor at the barber’s shop for several years. “A fight broke out and he went to separate the participants,” said the lawyer, adding that his client had cooperated with the investigation. “The barber had gone outside and started fighting with his cousin, being slightly injured with a pair of scissors as a result,” Debono suggested.

He added that the prosecution had been undecided on whether to press charges: the charges deal with an incident on April 9, but the arrest warrant was issued on April 15, which meant that there was enough time to suborn any witnesses.

Bianco added that his client, Zidane, had explained to the police that he had gone outside the shop and tried to calm things down because there had been two young children inside the barber shop. Zidane had held the attacker’s scissors-wielding arm back and disarmed him, before taking the scissors to the police, submitted the lawyer.

Lawyer Martina Herrera, representing Alaa Mohamed, said her client had accompanied Zidane to the police station to file a report about the incident.

Lawyer Roberta Bonello, representing Mohamed Mohamed, said her client had not even featured in the police report, but had been arrested regardless, adding that he had lived in Malta for the past 15 years and had a young family.

Prosecutor Nicole Marie Sladden adduced the delay in charges due to the careful approach adopted during the investigation. “After the fight, the victim was approached by a person who tried to convince the barber not to involve the police. He was offered money to settle the issue without involving the police.”

The court moved to deny the bail request on the grounds that civilian witnesses had not yet testified, but urged the prosecution to subpoena those witnesses without delay.

Lawyers Noel Bianco and Martina Herrera are assisting Alaa Mohamed. Bianco is also assisting Zidan. Mohamed Mohamed is being represented by lawyers Roberta Bonello and Adreana Zammit. Lawyers Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri are assisting Bashar Mohamad.

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