A man who allegedly threatened to throw acid over his estranged wife after she accused him of having an affair with his secretary has been remanded in custody this morning.
Inspector Colin Sheldon arraigned the 39-year-old truck driver from Zebbug earlier on Monday, accusing him of harassing the woman, threatening her and causing her to fear she would be subjected to violence.
The man was also charged with stalking the woman, breaching his bail conditions, misuse of electronic telecommunications equipment and recidivism.
It is understood that this was the fourth police report filed against the defendant by his ex-partner.
Inspector Sheldon told magistrate Victor Axiaq how the alleged victim had filed a police report in March, complaining of having received threats from the defendant, with whom she had been in a long-term relationship until last December. The man had made multiple threats of serious harm, including threatening to throw acid at and threatening to shoot the woman. He would also regularly intimidate her and her mother, said the inspector.
The police had immediately issued a warrant for the man’s arrest, but were unable to track him down and had later placed him on the wanted list. The defendant was arrested on Saturday, said the inspector.
During his interrogation, the man had admitted to sending some messages to the alleged victim but insisted that the messages had been sent in the heat of the moment and that he had never raised a hand to her. The defendant said he had asked the woman to return a ring and jewellery that he had given to her as gifts and had promised not to look at her again after that.
Asked what he was pleading to the charges, the man entered a plea of not guilty. Defence lawyer Jason Grima requested the accused be granted bail.
The prosecution objected to bail. Lawyer Marita Pace Dimech, representing the alleged victim as parte civile also objected, telling the court that the man had also threatened to shoot the woman. “I wasn’t going to do anything to her,” piped up the accused from the dock, before being ordered not to speak by the court.
“The man is all talk and no action,” submitted the lawyer, adding that the messages in question had already been preserved as evidence.
“If there were any threats, these weren’t realistic and were not serious,” he argued.
“Don’t you think this is serious?” asked the magistrate.
“He definitely didn’t intend to carry it out,” Grima explained. “Had he wanted to carry them out, he would have already done so by now. He never even touched her.”
He explained that the alleged victim had accused the defendant of having had an affair with his secretary. “He said lots of empty words which now put him in a bad light, but whether he would have acted on them or not is another matter,” argued the lawyer, adding that the man had no way of tampering with the evidence, which was already in the prosecution’s hands.
The lawyer also argued that remanding the defendant in custody would prejudice his ability to pay maintenance to his estranged wife.
The court, however, was not persuaded, saying that it was not convinced that he would abide by his bail conditions and ordered him to be remanded in custody.