The Malta Independent 3 March 2024, Sunday
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Jeremie Camilleri charged with wilful homicide over car ramming that claimed woman's life

Thursday, 19 January 2023, 17:40 Last update: about 2 years ago

Jeremie Camilleri has been charged with the wilful homicide of Pelin Kaya.

Jeremie Camilleri, 33, from Lija had been behind the wheel of the BMW which rammed into 30-year-old Pelin Kaya, while she was walking on Testaferrata Street in Gżira at 1am on Wednesday morning.

Camilleri, who told the court that he does not work, pleaded not guilty to the charges. Bail was not requested and Magistrate Joe Mifsud turned down a request by the defence lawyers to send the accused to Mount Carmel Hospital to continue receiving psychiatric treatment.

Mifsud said Camilleri will go to the Corradino Correctional Facility and it will be the director over there to determine the best care plan possible.

Prosecuting inspector Kurt Zahra did not mince his words when testifying on the arrest: "This was not a simple traffic accident but voluntary homicide."

Camilleri was also charged with driving under the influence of drugs, injuring two other bystanders, causing damage to the petrol station and restaurant and other vehicles, breaching a probation order and with possession of cocaine and diazepm.

The case will now be assigned to another magistrate for the compilation of evidence to start.

Kaya, from Turkey, had been rushed to Mater Dei Hospital by ambulance but died of her injuries. An interior designer, Kaya is believed to have been working in Malta for a year and was celebrating her birthday on the day she was killed.

CCTV footage of the incident that later went viral shows a black BMW crashing headlong into the Gzira KFC outlet next to the Paul & Rocco petrol station. Kaya had been walking next to the petrol station and her body was flung several metres by the violent impact.

The driver, later identified as Camilleri, is then seen emerging from the vehicle and assailing passers-by.

The driver had to be tasered twice by police officers before he could be taken into custody.

Sources had said that drug tests revealed that Camilleri had high levels of cocaine.

Although Camilleri is believed to have had previous convictions, for reasons which are not clear, only his most recent conviction can be found on the court website. That conviction dates back to just two weeks ago, when, on 4 January, Camilleri had pleaded guilty to shoplifting items from health food stores in Sliema and Attard and breaching a probation order.

He was subsequently sentenced to probation for three years.

Live blog:

17:56 The sitting is over. The accused leaves the courtroom and will be transported to the Corradino Correctional Facility.

17:53 The victim's sister, present in court, is weeping quietly.

17:53 The magistrate goes off on a tangent and eulogises the efficiency and safety of the prisons.

17:52 Magistrate Joe Mifsud praises the work of the 33 doctors at CCF. He tackles the mistaken impression that persons detained at the forensic ward are allowed to mingle with other patients. "The forensic ward is not part of Mount Carmel Hospital (MCH), but part of prison. It is a section which happens to be on the grounds of MCH," he says.

17:51 Bail is not being requested.

17:51 The court says this practice of courts ordering persons to be held at Mount Carmel Hospital is wrong. He will be sent to the Corradino Correctional Facility, the director of which will decide where he is to be held after assessing him.

17:50 Defence lawyer Alfred Abela says that during the investigation the accused was under psychiatric care and had been held under constant watch. He asks the court to recommend he be detained at the forensic ward at Mount Carmel Hospital.

17:50 The accused is asked for his details. Jeremie Camilleri, 33, born in Toulouse, France on 22 February 1989. "Do you work?" "No," he replies.

17:45 Magistrate Joe Mifsud continues: "This is a general reflection. There are rights which protect everyone. We [society] deserve at least as many rights as the accused."

17:44 Citizens need to be protected, the magistrate says. “This is what society wants: that the institutions listen to them and not those who spread the culture of death and killing, to satisfy certain lobbies. If we're not going to get on our feet, cocaine and other substances are costing us lives. Let us not allow the introduction of a culture whereby you are considered not normal unless you consume cocaine at parties… Citizens and visitors to our islands should feel safe here, not get killed.”

17:45 Magistrate Joe Mifsud continues: “This is a general reflection. There are rights which protect everyone. We [society] deserve at least as many rights as the accused.”

17:42 The magistrate reads out a statement, expressing dismay at another incident where a person lost their life: “I am sorry, as a court, that there are still people who spread the culture of death, be it alcohol or drugs. Today we are suffering the consequences of those who want us to be normal and carried off with the current trend where celebration involves cocaine…”

17:41 Inspector Zahra: “It was not simply a traffic accident but a voluntary homicide.”

17:40 Jeremie Camilleri resisted arrest, the inspector says. The victim was identified as Pelin Kaya. Shortly after the crash, the girl lost her life.

17:39 Inspector Keith Zahra says that on 18 January the police were informed that a man drove his car into the KFC restaurant in Gżira and a person was in imminent danger of dying. The driver had also been throwing stones at bystanders.

17:38 Assistant AG Philip Galea Farrugia is also present. The magistrate asks the prosecution to explain what led to the arrest.

17:37 Jeremie Camilleri is also being assisted by two interpreters, who are now being administered the oath. The court is reading out the charges.

17:37 The case is being heard by Magistrate Joe Mifsud.

17:36 The small courtroom is packed to the gills with police officers, journalists and family members.

17:35 Inspector Keith Zahra and Inspector Shamus Woods are prosecuting, together with Attorney General prosecutor Kayliegh Bonnett.

17:34 Lawyers Alfred Abela and Rene Darmanin are defence counsel.

17:33 Lawyers Shazoo Ghaznavi, Charlon Gouder and Ramona Attard are parte civile for the victim's family.

17:33 The accused is sitting pensively on the front bench, dressed in a black padded jacket and tracksuit. He exchanges words with lawyer Rene Darmanin who is sitting next to him, before the lawyer stands up and joins the rest of the legal team.

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