Alleged drug lord Jordan Azzopardi has again been denied bail by the Criminal Court, which said that perceived risks still existed and there had been “no change in circumstances” to change its mind.

The 29-year-old, who has been under preventive custody since his arrest in March 2019, is facing some 15 accusations ranging from drug trafficking and aggravated possession of cocaine, heroin and cannabis to criminal conspiracy and circulation of fake cash.

He also stands accused of money laundering, defrauding three shops in San Ġwann and Sliema, having an unlicensed weapon, threatening and injuring a third party and breaching bail.

His defence team filed a fresh application for bail before the Criminal Court, pending continuation of the compilation of evidence before the Magistrates’ Court and while the records of the proceedings were sent back to the Attorney General’s office.

Pointing out that the accused had been in custody since his arrest on March 13, 2019, his lawyers argued the man was still presumed innocent.

Moreover, others who were facing similar charges, had been granted bail, the court was told.

Prosecution objects to request

The prosecution objected to the request, citing the accused’s lack of trustworthiness and the fear that he might abscond. 

After hearing submissions by both parties the court, presided over by Madam Justice Edwina Grima, turned down the request, observing that the risks, perceived by the court, as well as by the Attorney General and the court presiding over the compilation proceedings, were still present. 

There had been “no change in circumstances” to prompt the court to alter its position on the granting of bail, Judge Grima decreed.

The court also noted the gravity of the offences, which included the running or financing of a criminal organisation linked to a number of individuals, some of who are witnesses in the proceedings. 

Nor could the court ignore the criminal record of the accused, which included the breach of an earlier bail decree.

Lawyers Franco Debono, Joseph Giglio and Amadeus Cachia are assisting the accused. Inspectors Mark Anthony Mercieca, Justine Grech and Nicholas Vella are prosecuting, assisted by AG lawyers Elaine Mercieca and Ann Marie Cutajar.

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