The Malta Independent 22 January 2018, Monday

Prosecution to request more information on Kristjan Zekic from Uzbekistan authorities

Gabriel Schembri Monday, 18 September 2017, 17:00 Last update: about 5 months ago

The prosecution has asked the courts to send a request for information from the authorities in Uzbekistan which could help shed more light on the identity of Krisjan Zekic, a man currently facing charges for being in possession and making use of a false passport.

He also happens to be undergoing proceedings in the case of Eleanor Mangion Walker as he is suspected of having helped the prime suspect in the case, Andrew Mangion, to hide the victim's body. The victim's body was found in a Qormi warehouse in July 2016.

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The prosecuting inspector, Keith Arnaud has requested the go ahead from the court to ask for more information from the Uzbekistan authorities. The defence was quick to object arguing that the law did not provide for such a source of evidence before the Magistrates' Courts as a court of criminal judicature presiding over summary proceedings.

Appearing for the accused, lawyer Stephen Tonna Lowell said that an amendment to the criminal code in 2014 had specified where such letters could be requested. Summary proceedings were not one of such situations, Tonna Lowell insisted.

The police inspector said that the prosecution had intended to rely on data collected from the authorities in Slovenia. However, as the case proceeded, it realised that further information from Uzbekistan was necessary. Gianella de Marco, who is also assisting the accused, said that in the meantime, eight months down the line, her client is still behind bars.

Magistrate Aaron Bugeja, while acknowledging that the prosecution controls its evidence, said it would have been much better if the prosecution had requested such letters at the start of the proceedings. The court granted the prosecution one week to present its written submissions justifying its request for the letters rogatory. The defence will then be given a week to make its written reply.

Both parties agreed that the custody officer was to testify during the next sitting, producing the detainee book so that the court could verify the authenticity of the copies presented today.

The case continues.


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