The Malta Independent 14 November 2019, Thursday

Defence asks new magistrate assigned for Paqpaqli case to recuse herself

Tuesday, 15 October 2019, 13:00 Last update: about 30 days ago

The magistrate assigned to the PaqPaqli case was requested to recuse herself after she declared in open court that she knew relatives of one of the defendants.

The case had been assigned to Magistrate Nadine Lia after the previous magistrate, Aaron Bugeja, was promoted to judge earlier this year.

But when the case was called for its first sitting before the new magistrate this week, she informed the parties, for the sake of transparency – as she was obliged to by law – that she knew a close relative of defendant Tonio Darmanin, socially.

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The prosecution and lawyers for the injured parties did not object to the magistrate hearing the case.

But after requesting a brief recess, the defence lawyers unanimously and collegially declared that it would be “best fitting if, in the particular circumstances of the case, there is a recusal in the interests of justice and because justice must be seen to be done.”

The lawyers, however, praised the correct manner with which the court came forward with the information.

The magistrate will issue a decree from chambers on the recusal request. Meanwhile a sitting scheduled for tomorrow has been cancelled.

Police inspectors Josric Mifsud, Silvio Magro and Hubert Cini are prosecuting.

Giannella de Marco and Stephen Tonna Lowell are counsel to Paul Bailey.

Appearing for the various members of the organising committee are lawyers Stefano Filletti, Joe Giglio, Arthur Azzopardi, Michael Sciriha, Raphael Fenech Adami and Albert Zerafa.

Franco Debono, Amadeus Cachia, Roberto Montalto, Michael Grech, Shazoo Ghaznavi, Alessia Zammit Mackeon and Reuben Farrugia are among the lawyers appearing parte civile for the victims.

Twenty-six people were injured, five of them critical, after the driver of a white Porsche 918 supercar performing in a motor-show in aid of charity skidded and went out of control, crashing through the barriers and ending up in the crowd in December 2015.

The accident happened during the annual Paqpaqli ghall-Istrina fund-raising campaign in aid of the Community Chest Fund.

 

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