A man whose estranged partner had reported him to police for cocaine possession returned the accusation in court on Tuesday, with his lawyer alleging that the couple’s child had seen drugs being used at the mother's house.

The 44-year old Marsascala resident pleaded not guilty upon his arraignment on Tuesday to having threatened his ex and caused her to fear violence.

Police had been set on the case on Monday, after the mother filed a report alleging violence and cocaine possession by her ex.

Speaking in court on Tuesday, the man’s lawyer painted a different picture of events.

The two had argued on Sunday but nothing had resulted of that, defence lawyer Andre Portelli said.

The report had only been filed on Monday after the father had refused to hand the daughter back to the mother, he said.

According to Dr Portelli, the man had done so because the child was being made to witness drug abuse when staying with her mother.

“That was why he refused, as any father would,” he argued.

Dr Portelli noted that police had searched his client’s home for drugs, finding nothing.

“Such a search was illegal,” Dr Portelli stressed, also strongly objecting to prosecutor’s request to subject his client to a drug test.

“This goes against the right of the accused against self-incrimination in criminal proceedings, is diametrically opposed to the presumption of innocence as well as the procedural rights of the accused as safeguarded under article 6 of the EU Convention,” the lawyer minuted in the records of the case.

In the light of the drug possession charge, the lawyer further reserved the right to request an investigation into the search effected at his client’s home, since there had been no search warrant, the court was told.

Whilst reserving its decision on the requested blood test to a later decree in chambers, the court upheld a request for bail against a €300 deposit, a personal guarantee of €5000 and an order to sign the bail book twice a week.

Duty magistrate Rachel Montebello also bound the accused under a Protection Order, allowing only “minimal” contact with the alleged victim, such as was necessary for matters of access to their child. Senior Inspector Trevor Micallef prosecuted.