The Malta Independent 22 September 2018, Saturday

Attorney General’s appeal against result of il-Bona murder trial fails

Thursday, 14 June 2018, 16:51 Last update: about 4 months ago

An appeal filed by the Attorney General against the result of the trial by jury of Marsaxlokk monti hawker Allan Galea who was sentenced to 6 years in 2015 after a jury found him guilty of the homicide of loan shark Anthony Borg, known as il-Bona, whom he had stabbed to death in Marsaxlokk village square in 2010, has failed.

For the crime of excusable homicide and that of carrying a sharp or pointed object without the necessary licence, Mr. Justice Antonio Mizzi sentenced Galea to 6 years in prison in December 2015.

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Galea would have been facing a life sentence had he been convicted of wilful homicide without the excuse of excess in self-defence.

But the Attorney General had appealed the judgment, initially demanding a retrial, although this request was later withdrawn. The AG argued that the judge had exerted influence on the jurors in his closing address.

The legal elements of legitimate self-defence were not all present, argued the AG, saying the “element of inevitability” of harm was “entirely missing.” The prosecutor submitted that the judge had also wrongly directed the jurors as to the probatory value of the statements released by the accused and that the lack of control he had exerted on the defence as it cross-examined witness Clifton Cassar “could have had an effect on the final verdict.”

The jury had returned a 6-3 verdict of excusable homicide due to excess of self-defence, as Borg had discharged a firearm in the moments immediately preceding his death.

After giving a blow-by-blow account of the events which led to the stabbing, as well as the judge’s closing address to the jurors before they retired to deliberate on their verdict, the Superior Court of Criminal Appeal, presided by Acting President Judge Joseph Zammit McKeon, judge Abigail Lofaro and judge Edwina Grima, ruled that there was no doubt that Anthony Borg died after being stabbed by the accused. From a detailed examination of the records of the proceedings, the court observed that jurors, having heard the lawyers’ arguments and the guidance of the judge in his address, could have legally and factually reached the conclusion they had.

“This court sees that in these circumstances it cannot, now in the stage of revision, invade the territory which the law reserves for jurors and usurp a judgment which is not its own.”

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