Yana Mintoff Bland’s former partner pleads not guilty to charges of arson, causing injury
Gheorghe Popa, the Romanian former partner of Yana Mintoff Bland, was arraigned in court yesterday and pleaded not guilty to a multitude of charges following a stabbing incident that took place at the home of the daughter of former Prime Minister Dom Mintoff.
The incident occurred on 24 October, at around 9pm. He was charged with attempting to cause grievous injury to both Yana Mintoff Bland, aged 65, and her 35-year-old son Daniel Mainwaring, and also with slightly injuring them. He was also charged with being in possession of a knife, making verbal threats against Yana Mintoff Bland, harassment, causing her fear, arson and causing criminal damage.
Mr Popa himself ended up in intensive care and the whole case has been shrouded in secrecy.
What is known, however, is that on the day the three suffered injuries, and the Tarxien house was on fire.
Delivering a brief explanation of events, prosecuting inspector Spiridione Zammit told the court that Mr Popa was found up on a tree. He was admitted to the ITU, and then moved to another ward. He also underwent psychiatric care for three days. During this period, the prosecution had an arrest warrant issued by the inquiring magistrate. The police were given a medical certificate stating that he was fit to be interrogated, and an interrogation later took place.
Mr Popa, who works at the Palumbo Shipyards, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
A request for bail was made by Defence Attorney Benjamin Valenzia, however the prosecution quickly objected. Inspector Zammit gave three reasons for his objection, that there are eye witnesses who still need to testify in court, that the address he gave to the police is the same where the incident took place, and due to the nature of the case.
Dr Joe Giglio, appearing parte civile for Yana Mintoff Bland and her son, argued that the accused said in his statement to the police that the incident took place because he was annoyed that Yana Mintoff Bland wanted to terminate their relationship as he was suspecting that she was seeing someone else.
”As a result of this, two persons suffered stab wounds and the magisterial inquiry established that after this happened, the accused went up to an area of the house, declared he felt he lost her and all he had, stabbed himself and set the house on fire.”
“There is an imminent danger if the accused is let out on bail,” Dr Giglio said.
The defence argued that according to the accused’s first statement he does not recall setting the house on fire.
Magistrate Gabriella Vella denied bail at this stage mainly due to the accused’s address given to the court being the same as the one where the incident took place.