The Malta Independent 13 November 2018, Tuesday

Young Dutchman killed: Witness says he saw victim on the ground, bleeding from the mouth

Kevin Schembri Orland Wednesday, 1 August 2018, 10:00 Last update: about 4 months ago

The court case of the 20-year-old driver who caused the death of a young Dutchman when he lost control of his car and mounted the pavement in St Julian’s is set to continue today.

Michael Caruana Turner, a fitness instructor, stands charged with the negligently causing the death of 19-year-old Tim Scholten, slightly injuring five other people, driving recklessly and driving drunk. He is pleading not guilty.

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The accident took place in the early hours of 6 July. Caruana Turner’s Subaru Impreza mounted the pavement in Triq Gorg Borg Olivier, near the Neptunes waterpolo pitch, hitting a number of people. Tim Scholten was resuscitated at the scene but died some days later in hospital.

The decision to lift the house arrest, was recently replaced by a curfew, and this decision had been taken by Madam Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera, following an application filed by the Attorney General a day after the arraignment. Caruana Turner had originally been granted bail but was also placed under house arrest.

10.37am Case continues on 5 September 9.30

10.36 Police Sergeant Edmond Fenech then took the stand, and said that on 6 July at around 4.50 am, he was passing through Gorg Borg Olivier Street heading towards Sliema, near the Park Towers corner, he noticed brown smoke. He said he reduced his car’s speed as he could barely see anything. He said he saw a person running in the street, shouting, signalling me to stop. Two metres away from me, when this brown dust settled, "I saw a person lying on the ground. I parked, got out, and saw this person on the ground bleeding from his mouth. I called an ambulance and the St Julian’s police station for help. Aside from the person on the ground, there was another person with a head injury, and more people injured, he said.

“I was on site just seconds after the accident occurred.”

He said the police and ambulance went on site, and that someone tried to administer CPR to the person on the ground. He asked people present who the driver was, but nobody answered. He said he did not give much notice to checking for the driver until the ambulance came. After the ambulance took the people to hospital, they contacted the police station to see who the vehicle belonged to. They discovered that it belonged to a certain Nicholas Caruana Turner, but it was being driven by Michael Caruana Turner, the owner’s son.

He and another officer looked around the surroundings between St Julian’s and Birkirkara, noticing a person fitting the driver’s description, between St Julian’s and San Gwann, confirming it was him and taking him to the station.

The description the police had at the time, he said, was that the driver was skinny with a black shirt. He said that the officers also confirmed the picture against the police system.

10.30 Defence attorney Joe Giglio asked whether the accused had to be taken to hospital. The officer said he was taken to the Floriana Polyclinic. Asked whether he was under a state of shock, the witness said it was more like some injuries. 

Giglio asked whether a medical examination was required because the accused was in a state of shock. The officer said he did not know whether the accused was in shock.

Asked upon whose instructions the accused was taken to the polyclinic, he said that it was the Sergeant’s decision, adding that it is normal procedure given that some injuries were sustained.

10.25am Police Constable Alfred Bray said that on 6 July he was on duty at the St Julian’s Police Station, and said that at 5am they received a call to go to Borg Olivier Street, where there was an accident. He said a police sergeant called him saying that he was on site. He testified that he and another officer went on site and saw a car on the pavement, a Subaru. He said that they saw a person in the middle of the road and someone administering CPR. An ambulance came a few minutes later to assist the person on the ground. The driver of the Subaru was not on site, and the man. The person who was receiving CPR was the Dutchman.

The police then looked for the driver after having been given a description, and stopped to talk to one who fitted the description, who gave the name George Pace. He said that the police were not convinced by his story, that he was going home to sleep as he was tired, and after a while it resulted that he was the driver of the Subaru.  Eventually the police found out his name, as the vehicle was listed under his father’s name. The person in question was Michael Caruana Turner. The officer indicated that the person in question was the accused on the bench in court.

10.10 A police officer, Sergeant Mark Cremona, said he was on duty from on the day of the accident, and that at around 6am he was informed about it. He went from Paceville to the site of the accident to assist his colleague. He said that his colleague was giving the breathalyzer test to Caruana Turner. He said there were many injured, and he coordinated the crime scene. He said he waited for the court expert – Dr Mario Scerri and officers who took evidence from the site. He said that on site, he saw a lot of debris on the street, while also seeing shoes and flip flops scattered around. He said that a bench was smashed, and an electricity pole was damaged. He said that the officers called the British High Commission as there were two British nationals involved and that the officers, at that time, did not know their identity.

10.05 Dr Luana Formosa, from Mater Dei Hospital testified, and spoke of the physical state of the victim as a result of the incident.  The certificate issued when the man was admitted to hospital was that he was “in danger”.

10 Gasan Mamo Insurance Ltd asked asked for independent surveyor to check vehicle to see if the engine was tampered with. The Magistrate said she will not accept to appoint a surveyor from Gasan Mamo, however the court reserved the right to appoint a technical expert to consider the allegation. Defence lawyer Joe Giglio said that the issue besides being an allegation is not part of the merits of this case, and that once experts carry out the work by the inquiring magistrate, he said he is sure the vehicle owners and Gasan Mamo would need to deal with insurance issues. He said nobody made a claim so far. The Magistrate said that she will not appoint the technical expert for now at this stage, pending the submission of the Process Verbal in the proceedings.

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