A monkey with a missing molar bit one of three men facing charges of stealing animals from Razzett tal-Hbiberija, in Marsascala, a magistrate heard yesterday.
Police Inspector Christopher Pullicino explained how a court expert had been appointed to compare the monkey's dental pattern with a bite mark found on the back of one of the men.
The officer was making submissions on bail during the arraignment of Kevin Portelli, 30, of Zabbar, Louis Ronayne, 24, of Kirkop, and his 20-year-old brother Salvino, of Marsascala who pleaded not guilty to stealing the animals, animal cruelty and causing damage at Razzett tal-Hbiberija on September 30.
Louis and Salvino Ronayne were also charged with breaching the conditions of a previous release and Louis Ronayne was charged with relapsing.
After the charges were read out to the three men, who were arraigned in the evening, the defence lawyers made a request for bail. However, Inspector Pullicino, prosecuting, objected saying there was the risk the accused would approach the witnesses for the prosecution.
He noted that among the witnesses was an expert who had been assigned to compare the dental pattern of a monkey - that had not been stolen - to a bite mark found on Mr Portelli's back.
Although some stolen animals had been returned, this was a crime that had been committed against society because the animals had been stolen from people with disabilities, the officer said,
After hearing submissions, Magistrate Miriam Hayman ordered that the three men be detained in custody at this stage until the prosecution's main witnesses were heard.
Razzett tal-Hbiberija has reported that three barn owls, two golden pheasants, four mountain goats, a young mountain goat, one Amazon parrot, a rabbit and a monkey used for therapy with children with disabilities have been stolen. An adult deer was found bludgeoned to death.
Lawyers José Herrera, Veronique Dalli, Chris Cardona, Malcolm Mifsud and Cedric Mifsud were defence counsel.