Woman admits to attempted theft from Valletta jewellery shop

Court orders treatment for drug addiction

A 21-year-old woman has admitted to having tried to steal a gold ring from a Valletta jeweller’s shop on Thursday.

She told the court that she had been supposed to start a drug rehabilitation program on the day that she was being arraigned.

Police Inspectors Gabriel Micallef and Daryl Borg arraigned Maraya Magro, of no fixed address, before magistrate Leonard Caruana on Friday morning. Magro was charged with one count of attempted theft, aggravated by value.

Inspector Micallef told the court how at around noon on Thursday, the accused had entered a jeweller’s shop on Zachary street and started looking at the rings on sale. At a point, the shop attendant noticed one ring worth €1,200, was missing and had asked the accused whether it was in her possession.

The woman had denied this and unsuccessfully attempted to hide the stolen ring. At this point, the jeweller locked the shop’s door and closed the shutter to stop the woman from escaping.

“He then performed a citizen’s arrest and took her to Valletta police station,” said the inspector, adding that the entire incident had been clearly captured on CCTV.

Magro appeared to be on the verge of tears from the moment she was brought into the courtroom. 

After explaining the charges to the accused, together with her right to remain silent, the court asked the woman how she was answering to the charges.

“Guilty,” she said, confirming her plea after the court allowed her several minutes to reconsider, having warned her that the charges could potentially land her in prison.

It was Magro’s first offence, said the inspector in his submissions on punishment. “But the person she had been with was known to the police,” he said, urging the court to impress upon the accused the risks she was running by keeping bad company.

Lawyer Christopher Chircop, appointed as legal aid to the accused, submitted that the woman had cooperated with the police and had made an early admission of guilt. “The accused needs guidance in her life,” he said, adding that he didn’t believe that incarceration would help in this circumstance. She needed help to get back on her feet and would have to choose whether her future would be good or bad,” he said.

Magro told the magistrate that she had been supposed to start a drug rehab program with Caritas today.

“At the moment I am thinking about whether I can trust you or not.” said the magistrate. “I am going to take the middle road. I will appoint a person to accompany you and keep tabs on you. This is a chance which the State is giving you, you aren’t leaving here with a walkover.”

The court, after hearing the accused’s unconditional guilty plea, declared her guilty of the charge and placed her on probation for one year, also placing her under a treatment order.

The magistrate encouraged the woman to make good use of this second chance. “Trust your probation officers, they do good work and will guide you.”