The Malta Independent 3 December 2021, Friday

Court to see mobile phone data, CCTV relating to injured worker dumped on side of road

Friday, 22 October 2021, 17:31 Last update: about 2 months ago

A court IT expert is to be appointed to extract CCTV and mobile phone information regarding building contractor Glenn Farrugia, who is charged with causing grievous bodily harm to Jaiteh Lamin, a worker who suffered spinal injuries in a fall at his workplace.

Lamin was injured in a fall on 28 September at a construction site in Mellieha. He claims his employer, Farrugia, had dragged him from the back of a van and dumped him on the road, telling him to say he had been hit by a car.

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On October 7, Farrugia had been released on bail following a marathon first sitting after his arraignment, on charges of grievous bodily harm and breaches of employment and health and safety legislation.

This afternoon, before magistrate Marseanne Farrugia, defence lawyer Franco Debono, who is appearing for Farrugia together with lawyer Matthew Xuereb, asked prosecuting police inspector George Frendo whether the police had established the dynamics of the incident. "Did he fall, did a plank give way, something else?"

"The victim had said that he was supposed to be hammering some nails and had asked for a hammer when he fell," said the inspector. Debono asked if he was pushed. "That would be grievous bodily harm, as per the charges," commented the lawyer.

"No the allegation is that after he fell and instead of professional help being provided, he was carried away from the area on some planks, was placed in a van and left on the side of the road," Inspector Frendo replied.

The lawyer moved on, asking about the charges. Over 18 of them concerned the Occupational Health and Safety Authority(OHSA) and were administrative in nature, he said. "They are not administrative , there is discretion as to settling them administratively or not," corrected the inspector. The OHSA had asked the police to issue their charges together with the police's own, he explained.

Asked whether the victim's mobile phone had been seized by the police, the inspector said it hadn't. Debono asked about the call logs, "as an investigator did you see the call logs? Did you see if a call to the ambulance was made?"

Inspector said he did not recall at this point, but said that representatives of the mobile phone representatives will exhibit the call profiles.

Debono asked whether the victim had worked illegally in Malta. "He said he had started with Glenn Farrugia a few days before, but no it didn't result that he worked with anyone else. We requested the Jobsplus history," Debono interrupted, saying "if he was working illegally it's not going to be on Jobsplus."

"We did not find anything," concluded the inspector.

Magistrate Marseanne Farrugia asked about the victim's health. Parte civile lawyer Gianluca Cappitta informed the court that the victim was walking with crutches and a back brace and had one arm in a sling.

Medical doctors who treated the victim were notified too late to make arrangements to testify today, the prosecution said.

Inspector Frendo requested the appointment of an IT expert to extract information from a digital video recorder which had been exhibited earlier today and an analysis of the suspect's mobile phone, regarding activity in these two devices on 28 September 2021.

Debono reserved the right to present a note requesting the device to be unlocked in the presence of the accused. "A mobile phone contains many things which are unrelated and we are to be very zealous for the safeguarding of the privacy of the accused." The court replied that it was not interested in anything bar that relevant to this case.

"Privacy must be jealously safeguarded. Evidence must be strictly related to the case," repeated Debono, also asking that CCTV footage be seen in open court.

The defence requested the faculty of presenting a note. The court upheld the request, giving the defence until the 29 October to present its note of submissions on the prosecution's request to appoint an IT expert.

The case was put off for 3 November and the court asked the police to make it clear to the doctors that they must appear or a warrant for their arrest would be issued. "I understand that they are busy but this is important."

Lawyers Franco Debono and Matthew Xuereb are appearing for Farrugia. Lawyer Gianluca Cappitta is representing the victim. Inspector George Frendo is prosecuting.

 


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