A private warden was remanded in custody on Wednesday after he pleaded not guilty to grievously injuring four restaurant patrons.

The court heard that Edward Alexander Vella, a 36-year old groomer from Swieqi, got into a verbal argument with four Swedish customers on Sunday at 7pm when one of them, bare-chested at the time, exited the establishment, returning a while later.

A verbal argument between the warden and the four customers ensued. As the situation escalated, a third party stepped in to assist Mr Vella. The prosecution said this person was still being sought by the police.

In the course of the fight, a metal ash tray and a glass bottle were used.

Prosecuting Inspector Bernadette Valletta said that upon arrival at the scene of the incident, the scene had been cleared of any signs of the fight.

The warden was also charged with breaching the law regulating the office of private wardens and the peace. He pleaded not guilty.

Defence lawyers Michael and Lucio Sciriha requested bail, pointing out that the whole incident had been sparked off through the arrogance of the bare-chested customer.

The warden had been provoked, Dr Michael Sciriha said, pointing out that his client had a perfectly clean criminal record and that the whole incident had been captured on CCTV.

Moreover, his client had personally called in the police.

The arrested man satisfied all the pre-requisites for bail and he could not be denied this just because a third party still had to be traced by the police.

However, after hearing submissions by the prosecution, duty magistrate Josette Demicoli turned down the request for bail on account of the gravity of the charges and the fact that civilian witnesses were still to testify.

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