The Malta Independent 20 February 2019, Wednesday

Zejtun bar owner cleared of grievously injuring man during fight

Wednesday, 16 January 2019, 15:03 Last update: about 2 months ago

A bar owner from Zejtun has been cleared of grievously injuring and disfiguring another man in a bar fight in his bar after a court ruled that there was a “lurking doubt” as to what had actually happened in the incident.

The incident in question took place on 12 August 2017 at the Red Stars Bar in Zejtun. Magistrate Doreen Clarke noted that the only witnesses in the case were the victim and a defence witness.

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The victim, an off-duty bus driver, had testified that he had gone to the bar to have a couple of drinks. After consuming two alcoholic beverages, the man had wanted a soft drink but barman had repeatedly tried to give him vodka instead, refusing payment. The victim had recalled having had two drinks, vodka and Coke, turning down further drinks which he passed on to another patron at the bar. He had also allegedly refused an offer of “something” else at the bar, seemingly implying that he had been offered some illicit substance.

When the victim had eventually moved to leave the bar, the accused, Albert Mifsud, had entered he said. At that point, he was offered another drink but he refused. As he turned away, the accused had laid into him, punching him “left right and centre” with a set of brass knuckles before being restrained. The accused had then told the barman to wash the bloodstained floor and close up shop.

After the accused had left, the patrons had given the victim his phone which he had dropped and told him never to return. He had gone straight to file a police report.

Another witness, the part-time barman at the establishment, had told the court that the victim had acted belligerently towards all the patrons at the bar and had prevented them from leaving. That witness had called up the accused who arrived shortly afterwards and asked the man to leave as it was closing time. He pointed the man towards the door but the victim had attacked him. He denied seeing any knuckledusters.

Magistrate Clarke observed that neither of the two witnesses were credible in view of conflicts and contradictions in their versions of events. “The only facts established beyond doubt are that there was a fight between the accused and the victim in which two bystanders had intervened and that the victim had suffered facial injuries.” The court said it had a lurking doubt as to what had actually happened and who had started the fight. “In these circumstances it cannot be said that the charges against the accused were proven to the level required by law.”

The court acquitted the accused of all charges.

Superintendent Johann J. Fenech prosecuted. Lawyers  Arthur Azzopardi and Rene Darmanin were defence counsel. Lawyer Dean Hili appeared parte civile for the victim        . 

 

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