The Malta Independent 20 May 2022, Friday

Darren Debono 'it-Topo' jailed for 10 and a half years after admitting guilt in HSBC heist

Thursday, 6 January 2022, 12:25 Last update: about 5 months ago

Mr Justice Giovanni Grixti has jailed Darren Debono known as it-Topo, after he pleaded guilty this morning to involvement in an unsuccessful 2010 attempted armed robbery at the HSBC headquarters.

Debono’s lawyers and the Attorney General’s Office had agreed on a 10-and-a-half-year sentence.

When Debono’s case was called this morning, the judge asked the lawyers of the parties and the accused whether they were in agreement as to the contents of a note filed earlier.

He asked Debono to confirm his guilty plea, which the accused then did. The judge retired to chambers to compose the sentence.

Emerging after around 20 minutes, the judge asked the accused once again whether he was pleading guilty. “Guilty as agreed in the plea bargain,” was the reply.

The defence clarified that with regards the 4th head of indictment, that of attempted homicide, the admission is limited to the charge of attempted grievous bodily harm on a public official.

The court, in view of the admission, said it agreed with the agreement reached by the parties and therefore found Debono guilty and condemned him to imprisonment for 10 years and 6 months and an €18,000 fine as well as half of the costs of the case, which amounted to over €11,000.

Lawyer Edward Gatt, appearing for Debono, declared that his client was renouncing his right to appeal and would be filing a note to this effect later on Thursday.

Lawyers Giannella Busuttil and Francesco Refalo prosecuted on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General.

Debono, Vincent Muscat known as il-Koħħu, and Fabio Psaila known as il-Ġeneral, were charged with carrying out the failed hold-up that ended in a firefight with police officers.

Debono's admission came just before the start of Muscat's jury on the same case on Thursday. The jury has since been postponed.

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