The man who stands accused of trying to import explosives from a seller on the dark web, has been granted bail, after spending some four months under preventive custody.
Jomic Calleja Maatouk, a 34-year-old Żebbuġ resident, had been targeted by criminal investigations last summer, following a tip-off by foreign security services about a "suspicious" parcel heading towards a Maltese addressee by the name of “Roger Tabone”.
Members of the local anti-terrorism squad had travelled to Arizona last August, where the parcel was intercepted and its contents, C-4 type explosive hidden inside a sound speaker, was extracted by an expert.
The parcel was subsequently sent on to its intended destination.
A controlled delivery resulted in the arrest and arraignment of Calleja, who pleaded not guilty to criminal conspiracy, attempting to import explosives without the necessary police licence, as well as breaching two bail decrees delivered in 2016 and relapsing.
In the course of the compilation of evidence, Calleja ended up facing additional charges of forgery after doubts arose about the genuineness of a signature on a lease agreement for a Qormi showroom.
That signature, was meant to have been done by the accused’s father who, however, when testifying in court, had denied that it was his.
That denial had prompted presiding magistrate, Donatella Frendo Dimech, to appoint a handwriting expert to analyse and compare the signatures of father and son.
The expert had later reported that the signature, next to the father’s identity card number, actually matched the accused’s own handwriting.
Meanwhile, as proceedings continue, the court upheld a fresh request for bail against a deposit of €5,000, a personal guarantee of €45,000, an order to sign the bail book daily and to abide by a curfew between 10pm and 6am.
In an earlier sitting, prosecutors had told the court that investigators could be inching closer to discovering the identity of the victim intended to be targeted by the accused.
The case continues.
Superintendent George Cremona and Inspector Omar Zammit are prosecuting. Lawyer Benjamin Valenzia is defence counsel.