A man who was caught on camera masturbating at a playground has been granted bail after pleading not guilty. 

Ahmad Osman Ibrahim, a 36-year old Somali refugee living in Marsa, was arraigned on Tuesday after the alleged public indecency that led to his arrest. 

Prosecuting inspector Sarah Zerafa explained that the police had received reports about the man and his offensive habit in the presence of children who happened to be at the playground. 

He was arrested on site.

When he was later shown CCTV footage of the suspect, wearing identical clothing to that worn by the accused, Ibrahim persisted in denying the allegations, telling police that there were other people of his same skin colour, inspector Zerafa told the court. 

He claimed to have run away upon sensing police presence only because he wanted to catch a bus. However, there was no bus stop nearby, the prosecution added.

The man pleaded not guilty.

His legal aid counsel, Joseph Bonnici, requested bail, pointing out that the charge was contraventional and did not merit a refusal of bail, considering further his clean criminal record. 

As for the prosecution’s fear that the accused could prove difficult to trace, police could serve notice of future court hearings at the police station where he would sign the bail book. 

After hearing submissions by both parties, the court, presided over by magistrate Lara Lanfranco, upheld the request granting bail against a personal guarantee of €500, signing of the bail book three times a week and under a curfew between 10pm and 7am.

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