The Malta Independent 24 October 2020, Saturday

Safi Detention Centre security officer charged with attempted murder of migrant

Saturday, 19 September 2020, 17:52 Last update: about 2 months ago

A security officer working at the Safi Detention Centre has been charged with the attempted murder of a migrant whom he was chasing during a riot at the centre.

A court heard how Darren Bonello, 30, from St Paul's Bay, fired two "warning shots", with at least one of them fired in the direction of the migrant he was chasing.

The charge is related to a riot at the centre on Friday.  27 migrants have been separately charged for their involvement in the riots.

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Before Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit, Bonello denied the attempted murder of Abdulrahman Abdullah Hamza at around 2.30am on Friday.

He also denied slightly injuring him when he hit him with his second shot.

Bonello also pleaded not guilty to carrying an unlicensed Bennelli weapon, breaching the conditions of his firearms licence, being in possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime and working as a security guard without a licence.

The court heard how the accused was trying restrain the migrant from fleeing and had fired the shots when the migrant attempted to scale the fence leading to the airport runway.

Bonello’s defence lawyers Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia requested bail, insisting that their client was only defending himself from the migrant's assault, who had even injured him. He was also doing his job in trying to stop the escape, the defence argued.

Despite the prosecution's objections, the court granted the man bail against a €3,000 deposit and a €10,000 personal guarantee. He was ordered to sign the bail book three times a week and to observe a curfew.

Inspector Jannetta Grixti led the prosecution.

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