A judge said on Wednesday he considered ten factors before turning down a request for bail by Daniel Muka, one of three men accused of a double murder in Sliema almost two years ago.

The 27-year old Albanian was placed under a bill of indictment in April to stand trial over the murder of Christian Pandolfino and Ivor Maciejowski.

The victims were killed at their home on Locker Street on August 18, 2020 in what investigators believe may have been a botched robbery.

Muka was arrested days after the shooting.

His two alleged accomplices, Macedonian bouncer Viktor Dragomanski and Danish national Jesper Kristiansen, are facing separate proceedings.

Muka's application for bail was filed by lawyers Alfred Abela and Rene’ Darmanin who also produced two witnesses who testified that they were ready to offer the accused accommodation and employment.

Mr Justice  Aaron Bugeja listed various factors that mitigated against the granting of bail including the nature of the charges and the particular circumstances of the case.

He explained that when seeking to achieve a safe and satisfactory balance between the interests of the state, the victims and the accused, the court also had to consider the possible punishment which, in this case, could be life imprisonment.

The case itself was resource-intensive and time-consuming, involving lengthy investigations as well as long compilation proceedings.

Besides, parallel proceedings against third parties were still pending.

The prosecution had also pointed out the minimal ties that Muka has in Malta and the risk of absconding, as well as the accused’s character and criminal record. 

Malta's small size meant that a person facing criminal prosecution had little room to hide. Anyone facing possible life imprisonment “would be more incentivized to abscond or leave Malta for good, given the chance.”

Such an escape would ‘paralyze’ criminal proceedings and that factor was therefore also to be considered by the court.

In this case, Muka had also failed to produce someone to step in as personal surety, the court observed. 

Mr Justice Bugeja said that when all was considered, the court was not convinced that the accused could offer sufficient guarantees to abide by bail conditions.

AG lawyer George Camilleri prosecuted.

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