Malta
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Man jailed for 14 years over near-fatal 2021 Tigne stabbing

A 40-year-old man has been jailed for 14 years, fined €4,000 and ordered to pay over €14,600 in costs, as well as having all of his property confiscated after admitting to charges of attempted murder and aggravated drug possession.

Hisham Ali Abuagilla from Libya, formerly residing in Sliema, was sentenced this afternoon by Mr. Justice Aaron Bugeja after pleading guilty in return for a reduced sentence, in terms of a plea bargaining agreement reached with the prosecution.

The Libyan had been arrested in connection with a near-fatal stabbing in Tigné in August 2021, after a ten-day manhunt by the police.  He was subsequently charged with attempted murder, inflicting grievous injury, breaching the peace and carrying a knife in public without a police permit.

At the time of his arrest, Abuagilla was found to be carrying a pocket knife and several small packets of substances suspected to be cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis, in circumstances indicating that they were not for his personal use. The police later found more drugs, hidden inside a protein shake bottle at his home. 

Abuagilla was also accused of possession of cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis, in circumstances which indicated that they were intended for trafficking. 

Luke Daniel Jones, the man stabbed by Abuagilla, had told the court that before the incident he had been drinking with two work colleagues of his at a bar in Paceville. When the bar closed, one of the victim’s friends suggested that they meet up with the accused in Sliema and after spending some time at Abuagilla’s house the group walked towards Tigné beach carrying a bottle of bourbon.

A fight had broken out between the victim’s friend and Abuagilla, whom he had described as “visibly drunk.” Abuagilla had turned the focus of his aggression onto Jones after the latter attempted to break up the scuffle. Jones was stabbed a total of six times, in the chest, neck, back and face by the defendant, who then fled.

The judge sentenced Abuagilla to imprisonment for 14 years and to the payment of a €4000 fine. He was also ordered to pay €14600 to the court for costs incurred in engaging a number of experts. All of his property was confiscated in favour of the Republic of Malta, with the court also revoking any licences Abuagilla may hold, as well as disqualifying him from holding them in future.

The court also ordered the destruction of the drugs.

Defence counsel Noel Bianco asked the judge to grant Abuagilla an additional year to pay the fine and costs after the defendant served his sentence, explaining that his client would not be able to pay it off while in prison, but the request was turned down by the judge.

Prosecutor Etienne Savona represented the Office of the Attorney General in the proceedings.