Josef Grech, a 33-year-old resident of Cospicua, was apprehended on Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting his friend with a sword.
The victim, with a profusely bleeding right arm, sought help at the local police station. Grech, reportedly in a paranoid state following a six-day cocaine binge, told authorities he believed his friend was “the devil.”
When police arrived at the scene, they found Grech seated outside the residence, repeatedly asserting, “I thought he was the devil,” in reference to the victim. It was revealed that both individuals had been consuming cocaine together when Grech, influenced by drug-induced paranoia, attacked his friend with a sword. Grech had been on a six to seven-day cocaine spree leading up to the violent incident.
Following the assault, Grech was taken into police custody and later to Mater Dei Hospital. Initially unfit to provide a statement, he later chose to remain silent when declared fit.
In court, dressed in a suit with anxious relatives behind him, Grech pleaded not guilty to charges of grievous bodily harm, assault, and threats against the victim. The defense, highlighting the influence of drug-induced paranoia on criminal intent, requested toxicological tests on Grech’s blood and potentially hair samples.
Bail was contested by the prosecution, citing the severity of the offenses and the victim’s critical condition. Grech’s clean criminal record and the difficulty of approaching the victim due to hospitalization were presented by the defense.
Despite the defense’s arguments, the court denied bail due to the nature of the charges, concerns about tampering, and Grech’s drug addiction. Instead, the court placed him under temporary supervision with a probation officer. AG lawyer Cynthia Tomasuolo handled the prosecution.