The Malta Independent 15 August 2018, Wednesday

Updated (4): Teenager involved in hit-and-run pleads not guilty to attempted murder, denied bail

Wednesday, 16 May 2018, 07:38 Last update: about 4 months ago

A 17 year-old has been charged with the attempted murder of a police constable whom he ran over in Luqa on Tuesday morning.

Police Constable Simon Schembri was nearly killed when he was run over by Liam Debono, suffering a collapsed lung and fractures to his pelvis and ribs. PC Schembri’s right arm had to be amputated below the elbow as a result of the injuries sustained.

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The officer also suffered severe friction burns from his cheek down to his abdomen from having been dragged for a considerable distance by the silver Mercedes that the underage motorist was driving.

The accused, a labourer from Tarxien, pleaded not guilty to a plethora of charges.

The teenager was “known to the police” and had been pulled over for driving dangerously and without a licence in the past, reports say.

Lawyer Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia assisted the defendant. Andy Ellul appeared parte civile for the injured officer.

Bail was requested. The prosecution objected, pointing to the “impressive gravity” of the offence. The accused had attacked and tried to murder a police officer, Saliba reminded, pointing out that during the investigation, the accused had given the police 3 different residential addresses, making it difficult to trust him. The man was not living with his parents, but in a Fgura garage with a friend, but the Inspector pointed out that he gave his grandparents’ address to the police.

He had not learned from previous mistakes, both in driving and other criminal matters, said Inspector Pierguido Saliba.

A number of witnesses were yet to testify.

Debono argued that the accused had testified before the inquiring magistrate and the law prevented him from retracting it.

The accused sat head bowed, hands clasped in the dock as his lawyer said he hoped the injured officer will recover. “We do our job as court officials but we also show sympathy with the victim. We do our job with a humane sentiment,” said the lawyer.

The court said it would issue a decision from chambers on the request for a ban on publication of the accused’s name, because although he is a minor, his name and face are already public knowledge.

After a short recess, the magistrate called the court back in session.

The court said it was denying bail in view of the submissions and the most grievous nature of the crimes alleged, the untrustworthiness of the accused and his lack of a fixed address.

With regard to the ban on publication of the accused's name, the court said it had seen the Minors Act and ruled that the ban on publication of names applied to those under 16. She denied the request.

Officer Simon Schembri, is in critical condition in hospital but according to relatives has shown some signs of improvement. 

 

Family members said he has now been taken off the ventilator and is communicating with his family. 

 

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