Two men charged with Buġibba apartment arson

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Two men pleaded not guilty after they have been charged with setting fire inside an apartment in Buġibba, on Monday morning.

The two men, a 33-year-old Tunisian national and a 24-year-old Libyan national, both residing at the same residence in Swieqi were accused of willfully setting fire to a building. The Tunisian was also accused of relapsing.

A fire broke out in an apartment on Triq l-Isponoz in Buġibba on 4 October at around 8am. The accused allegedly set the fire.

Prosecuting police inspector Joseph Mercieca told the court that CCTV footage showed the two accused entering and exiting the building.

A request for bail was made by defence lawyer Franco Debono. However the prosecution objected on grounds that the men are not trustworthy, pointing out that one of the accused was involved in the Samurai sword attack which took place in Paceville in May 2016. There are still civilian witnesses which need to take stand.

Lawyer Franco Debono argued that the deprivation of freedom is an exception and that bail should be considered in this case. “What we have is CCTV footage of the accused entering and exiting the building, we do not know what happened inside,” Debono argued.

The defence pointed out that a magisterial inquiry was appointed into the case which would gather and preserve evidence.

Magistrate Ian Farrugia turned down the request for bail. The two accused have been remanded in custody.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia appeared for the accused.