The Malta Independent 19 October 2019, Saturday

Liam Debono remanded in custody on charges he drove without a licence, insurance cover

Rebekah Cilia Saturday, 25 May 2019, 12:08 Last update: about 6 months ago

The teenager who stands accused of attempting to murder a policeman was back in court this morning, charged with driving without a licence, insurance cover, as well as breaching his €50,000 bail. He pleaded not guilty and was remanded in custody.

Liam Debono, aged 18, of Zejtun, last year made the headlines when he was involved in a hit-and run incident in Luqa. He was later accused of attempting to murder a police officer, Simon Schembri, who lost an arm after he was dragged for several metres.

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This morning, Debono was charged with driving without insurance cover and a valid driving licence, and breaching previous court rulings delivered by Magistrate Joe Mifsud and Mr Justice Antonio Mizzi.

He was also accused of breaching a court judgment delivered by Magistrate Mifsud, preventing him from being able to obtain a driving licence for five years.

Debono was caught driving by a police officer on Friday between 5.30pm and 5.45pm in Mikiel Ang Sapiano Street in Luqa, a short distance away from where the incident involving police officer Schembri took place last year.

Testifying in today’s sitting before Magistrate Mifsud, police officer Kevin Curmi said that at 5.30pm he was driving in the area in his private vehicle.

Near the airport roundabout he said he was stopped because of traffic when a Fiat Uno crossed his path. Although the car did not catch his attention, the driver did because he was sitting very low in the driver’s seat.

The sergeant said he recognised Debono because he had been part of the team investigating the attempted murder of Schembri. Curmi followed him and contacted the police control room with the details.

Curmi said that the Fiat Uno kept on driving and he continued to follow it. At one point an RIU car crossed in front of them and Curmi said Debono had possibly noticed the police were onto him. At that point, Debono turned into a side road.

The car was stopped when the sergeant saw Debono sliding onto the passenger side and the other person in the car walking around to the driver's side. Debono protested that he had signed the bail book.

Curm, however, said he had taken a photograph of the driver with his mobile phone. The court was then told that Jason Zammit was the other person in the car, and its owner.

Curmi said that Zammit confirmed that Debono had been driving. 

During Curmi's testimony, Debono appeared agitated and was seen frantically speaking to his lawyer.

Inspector Fabian Fleri testified and confirmed that Zammit was the owner of the vehicle.

He said that the police had received several phone calls in the previous weeks, telling them that Liam Debono was driving a Toyota Corsa and a BMW. These two vehicles belonged to two women that turned out to be Jason Zammit’s children. Police were asked to stop these vehicles to check who was driving them.

Following the arrest, Debono was spoken to by the police and he refused to speak to a lawyer then. He kept on denying that he was driving the Fiat and when the inspector told him about the Toyota, Debono said “I’m not telling you I never drove but in the entrances of garages which are private”.

Fleri continued to say that Debono’s father had said that the accused did not always sleep at home, but sometimes slept at Jason Zammit’s house. When asked about this, Zammit denied it but when confronted with the father’s statement, decided not to answer any further questions. 

The prosecution requested the confiscation of the car used by Debono.

Debono, who was assisted by legal aid Victor Bugeja, pleaded not guilty and was remanded in custody.

The case continues on 29 May,

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