The Malta Independent 18 September 2021, Saturday

Magistrate raps police ‘inefficiency’ in Zurrieq double-decker tragedy case

Friday, 30 April 2021, 12:39 Last update: about 6 months ago

A magistrate has rapped the prosecution in the compilation of evidence against the driver of a double decker bus that was involved in a fatal accident in 2018.

Charles D’Amato stands accused of involuntary homicide. Two people had died when the open top bus hit a tree branch in Zurrieq on 9 April of three years ago.

In March, the court had cleared the direcetors of the sighteesing company of criminal liability but had placed D’Amato under indictment.

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During Friday morning’s sitting, Magistrate Joseph Mifsud pointed out that the prosecution was summoning a number of witnesses who had already testified in the magisterial inquiry. This, he said, was causing unnecessary duplication of testimony.

Defence lawyer Franco Debono also objected to this, saying that the Criminal Code exempts the compilation of evidence from having to hear all the witnesses heard in the inquiry.

Magistrate Mifsud also pointed out that some of the charges may be time-barred since they were filed more than two years after the incident took place. One particular charge, that of causing slight bodily harm, requires a complaint from the injured party, bit this was not presented in the acts of the case.

The court also chastised the prosecution for summoning every single police officer who was at the scene.

“You’re coming here to confirm the inefficiency of the police because they all went to the scene yet they didn’t take care to file the charges in time,” the magistrate said.

The case continues in June.

Inspector Giannetta Grixti and Superintendent Josric Mifsud are prosecuting.

Lawyers Franco Debono, Francois Dalli, Francesca Zarb and Celine Marie Dalli appeared for Charles D’Amato.

Lawyer Mattia Felice appeared parte civile for one of the victims.

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