A 29-year-old man was remanded in custody on Wednesday after a court heard how he tried to bite the police officer who was trying to arrest him after allegedly catching him with drugs in a Ta' Qali nightclub. 

Sebastian Fiedler, an oil rig worker from Żabbar, was arraigned in front of Magistrate Joseph Gatt accused of possessing cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine that was not for his personal use, violently resisting arrest and breaching bail conditions set out in a previous case, amongst others. 

He pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

Police inspector Francesca Calleja told the court that the incident occurred in May at a nightclub where police doing an inspection spotted the accused acting suspiciously. 

As he noticed the officers approaching him, the accused dropped a sachet with traces of white powder and a €50 note from his hands to the floor, she continued. 

This prompted the police to search and arrest Fiedler, during which he allegedly violently resisted the officers and attempted to bite one of them. 

He was subsequently taken to the Birkirkara police station where a search of his person revealed four sachets of a substance thought to be cocaine, one sachet full of pink powder suspected to be ketamine and 24 pills of suspected ecstasy. Some €460 in cash was also found on his person.

Calleja said she was subsequently informed that Fiedler is restricted under bail conditions in a separate case and police decided to search his home in Żabbar. 

There, police found a butterfly knife and a switchblade, which are illegal to own in Malta. 

As the police and the defence went over the circumstances of the arrest, some confusion arose as to whether the drugs retrieved from the accused were found on his person or not. 

Lawyer Franco Debono said that according to his Fiedler, the sachets and pills were found on the floor of the nightclub, where many other people were. 

But Calleja vehemently denied this version of events, insisting that the substances found had been pulled out of Fiedler’s pockets by the police. 

“He dropped the first sachet, which only contained traces, to the ground and started to push it with his foot,” she said. 

“It was when he was escorted to the police station that he was searched properly and the drugs were found on him,” Calleja added, as Fiedler shook his head in the negative. 

A request for bail was objected to by the prosecution, who said that the seriousness of the charges was underscored by the fact it was committed at a place frequented by youths.

Furthermore, the man had been accused of a crime while under separate bail conditions, proving he was not trustworthy or able to abide by set conditions, particularly when he tried to injure a police officer, Calleja said. 

Debono countered by saying that, while the defence was still contesting the manner in which the drugs were found, the amounts were nonetheless small and Fiedler had not been accused of trafficking. 

He also pointed out that between his arrest and arraignment on Wednesday, the police had seen fit to grant the accused police bail while they continued to investigate and he had no problem abiding by conditions set during this time. 

“Here the court has concrete proof that when he was trusted by the police inspector with police bail, he obeyed,” Debono said. 

Fiedler, he said, has successfully completed drug court after getting into trouble with the law a few years ago. Since then he had completely turned his life around, having a job a stable relationship and a child, Debono said.

The knives found in his possession, Debono continued, once belonged to the accused’s Swiss father, who collected Swiss knives. They had been found under Fiedler’s bed where they had been for many years. 

Debono also pointed out there were no civilian witnesses to testify in this case and all evidence had already been captured by police body cams. 

After hearing submissions, the court decided that, due to the nature of the crimes, it would be too early to grant Fiedler bail. He rejected the request and remanded him in custody. 

He also granted a protection order in favour of the police officer involved in the arrest. 

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