Acquitted of pharmaceutical thefts due to 'absolute lack of evidence'

The man, who was previously charged with the 2005 murder of Simon Grech, has been cleared of stealing two vans full of pharmaceutical products back in 2009 

 

The man who was charged with the 2005 murder of Simon Grech, has been cleared of stealing two vans full of pharmaceutical products in 2009 after the court ruled that there was an “absolute lack of evidence” against him.

Ismael Habesh, 47, of Libya had been accused of stealing the two vans, handling stolen objects and voluntary damage.

His case had been in court for the past nine years.

Tripoli-born Habesh, from Mosta, had been named as the alleged thief by a third party who had been arrested while trying to sell some of the stolen medical products, after dumping them at the private clinic of a medical practitioner in Naxxar.

This third party, Raymond Abela, had allegedly told police that the products “had been handed over to him by Ismael Habesh,” leading to the police investigation.

Upon taking over the case from another magistrate in January 2018, magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech noted that despite the case being filed in 2010, no progress had been made since September 2014, and that only 12 witnesses had testified in 8 years.

The charges were filed in 2010, but the first sitting took place in 2015 and in many of the hearings, no headway had been made, observed the court.

Upon her being assigned the case, magistrate Frendo Dimech had immediately ordered the prosecution to conclude its evidence stage by the following sitting to ensure a “just and fair trial” for the accused.

Despite repeated requests that the prosecution produces Raymond Abela as witness, the police finally had to inform the court that the man, who had given them the incriminating information and against whom criminal action had been taken, had disappeared.

The court said that the police “had no clue as to whether this man was still in Malta,” adding that there was “an absolute lack of evidence” pointing to the man’s guilt, acquitting him of all charges.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia were defence counsel.

 

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