The Malta Independent 21 October 2021, Thursday

Police failed to secure crime scene in case involving one of their own, court hears

Monday, 25 January 2016, 16:30 Last update: about 7 years ago

A court this morning heard how police officers who were called on site after an officer crashed into a motorcyclist did not preserve the crime scene and failed to chase the witnesses to get their version of events.

Julia Farrugia, a former newspaper editor, testified in court regarding the case of 21-year-old Jean-Claude Mangion, a police officer from Qrendi. Back in January of 2014, Mangion hit motorcyclist Clive Brincat while driving to work at around 5am.

The officer appeared in court accused of causing Brincat’s death through negligence and of driving his car dangerously.

Farrugia told the court that she passed from Triq il-Konvoj ta’ Santa Marija regularly at those early hours as she used to present a breakfast show on television. She said she was surprised to observe a lot of objects lying on the road and how later, she saw the corpse.

When she saw the accused dressed in his police uniform directing traffic, Farrugia thought he was the police officer on duty. She stopped the car and asked if any help was needed.

The police asked her if she was a nurse, to which Farrugia told him she was not but had completed a first aid course.

Farrugia approached the body that was surrounded by two men. She recalled how the body was still warm and detected a very weak pulse.

She asked who the other party involved in the incident was, and the police told her it was himself.

Farrugia phoned for an ambulance and told the court that, according to the operator, the hospital was not informed of the incident.

While on site, Julia Farrugia heard the accused answering the phone. She overheard him say, “no, I can’t do that because a journalist is here.”

Later, police arrived on site and Farrugia suggested the road should be closed as objects from the incident were still lying around. However, according to Farrugia, police officers on site seemed uninterested in preserving the scene where the incident occurred.

The journalist phoned the police depot and asked to speak to the police commissioner but had to leave a message with a duty officer.

Farrugia claimed that no one took her details or cared to listen to her. She was later informed that the police’s media unit would get in touch with her to give further details. However, Farrugia insisted she was not there as a journalist seeking information.

The prosecution is led by Inspector Johann Fenech while lawyer Robert Abela is defending the accused.



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