Pilot accused of assault arrested after claiming police abducted his girlfriend

Wardija man who claimed police abducted his girlfriend pleads not guilty to threatening his partner of four months

A 52-year-old pilot has pleaded not guilty to assaulting and threatening his partner, who he had been dating for four months.

Massimo Galea, who resides in Wardija, was denied provisional bail when he was arraigned on Tuesday accused of repeatedly threatening his partner who had met her at work in Slovakia.

In court, the prosecution argued that the accused and the victim worked with the same Slovak airline, making it unsuitable to grant the accused bail because he knows his partner’s place of residence. He was also said to have tried to get in touch with her when he threatened her online.

Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit rejected the request for bail on the grounds that the victim has yet to testify and that there is no peace of mind that the accused will be complying with conditions granted by the Court if bail is granted.

Inspector Joseph Busuttil led the prosecution, assisted by lawyers Cynthia Tomasuolo and Cynthia Ellul Sciberras from the Attorney General’s office. Lawyer Jason Grima appeared for the accused.

This is a case related to what happened in court on Friday when Magistrate Abigail Critien dismissed a habeas corpus action by Galea, who claimed that his girlfriend had been “abducted” from his home by the police. The request was made by Massimo Galea, in a hearing during which the police testified that the woman was never arrested.

It appeared that the woman simply left Galea, and she wanted to make sure that the accused would not find her.

Galea filed an application for habeas corpus - a procedure, available to persons under arrest, which requires the duty magistrate to urgently examine the legality of their arrest. Galea was not a person under arrest and filed the procedure on behalf of his ‘girlfriend’.

However, when the application was heard on Friday, the police confirmed that his girlfriend was not in lockup or in prison, and hence not arrested. 

Indeed, Inspector Busuttil declared that the woman in question was not missing, “because I know where she is”. But when the defence counsel requested that he state her whereabouts, the police inspector curtly refused. “I am not here to satisfy your curiosity,” he said.

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