A man accused of a stabbing in Birkirkara has been granted bail, after his lawyer presented Facebook posts which the alleged victim had published after the incident.

Cranston Portelli, a 30-year old abattoir worker from Qormi, stands accused of having stabbed a 27-year old Msida resident. He is pleading not guilty. 

Both men are alleged to have started arguing at around 7.30pm at a bar on Valley Road last Sunday.

Defence lawyer Mario Mifsud noted that the people were celebrating the town's feast that day, and said the two men were total strangers who lived in different towns. 

He presented Facebook posts which the alleged victim had posted since Sunday’s aggression, in which the injured man bragged about being “an iron man,” and having “a body of iron.”

“He’s strong enough to come to testify at the next sitting,” Mifsud remarked as he handed over his mobile phone to a court official and requested bail for his client.

The prosecution objected to the request, underlining the nature of the injuries.

“In that photo he seems to be on his feet, taking selfies,” Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech noted.

Prosecuting inspector Andrew Agius argued that there was a risk that Portelli would tamper with evidence, as several civilians are expected to testify in the case. Among these are people who know the alleged victim and who were present at the time of the incident. 

However, after seeing the victim’s Facebook posts, the court was not convinced that granting bail would somehow change the victim’s view about testifying.

Moreover, the prosecution also had confirmed that investigators had retrieved footage that clearly showed the dynamics of the incident. 

Having been assured that that evidence was preserved and in light of all considerations, the court upheld the request for bail against a deposit of €7,000, a personal guarantee of €3,000, daily signing of the bail book and a curfew between 8:00pm and 6:00am.

The court barred the accused from approaching any prosecution witnesses and from going to Birkirkara, Msida and Gzira. 

The court also issued a Protection Order in favour of the alleged victim. 

Portelli is also charged with unlawfully possessing a knife at the time of the alleged violence, possessing the weapon without a police licence, as well as insulting and threatening his victim and breaching the peace. 

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