A tile layer escorted to court under arrest over possible misappropriation was released after a court found no legal basis for his arraignment under arrest.
The 35-year-old Romanian national was taken into police custody following a report filed by a Maltese woman last month whereby she claimed she had engaged Dumitru Emilian Vlasceanu to carry out works at a Mellieħa apartment block some months ago, but those works had never materialised.
An agreement was entered into between the tile layer and the woman who also handed over some €950 for the purchase of tiles from a particular establishment, for works to be carried out in September.
But the tiles never made it to the construction site, in spite of the seller allegedly confirming that the stock had actually been purchased.
On the other hand, the tile layer denied ever taking possession of the tiles.
Meanwhile, the owner who had engaged him to carry out the works went to the police upon suspicion that the tiles might actually have been purchased by Vlasceanu and used for some other job.
After allowing time for the parties to reach an amicable solution, police authorities decided to prosecute the workman and obtained an arrest warrant, fearing that the suspect might abscond, prosecuting inspector Ryan Vella explained.
But the arrest was immediately contested by legal aid lawyer Mark Mifsud Cutajar who argued that this case stemmed from a report filed over a month ago.
The police had allowed the parties time to settle the matter so there was no urgency, the lawyer insisted.
Moreover, the accused had ties in Malta dating back a long time as well as regular employment.
As for the fear of absconding, the prosecution itself had confirmed that the man had travelled abroad recently and returned, showing no intention of absconding, went on the lawyer.
In light of those submissions, the court, presided over by magistrate Charmaine Galea, declared that there was no legal basis for the arrest and released the accused who pleaded not guilty to the misappropriation.
The case will now be assigned to another magistrate and dealt with at a district sitting.