The Malta Independent 27 September 2023, Wednesday
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Ismael Habesh and Faical Mahouachi found not guilty of murdering Sion Grech

Friday, 20 January 2023, 18:08 Last update: about 9 months ago

A jury has found two men not guilty of the murder of Sion Grech back in 2005, bringing to an end an 11-day long trial on Friday evening.

52-year-old Ismael Habesh from Libya and 55-year-old Faical Mahouachi from Tunisia were accused of murdering Grech, a sex worker, in April 2005.

Seven jurors to two found Habesh not guilty of wilful homicide, while eight jurors to one found Mahouachi not guilty of the same charges.

Habesh was only found guilty of making use of a stolen vehicle.

The jury took less than four hours to return their verdict.

During the trial the jury heard of how Grech was stabbed 17 times before being left in a field in Marsa, where she was found after a number of days in an advanced state of decomposition.

Medico-legal expert Dr. Mario Scerri told jurors that Grech had not been killed in the field where her body was found. The victim had suffered many cuts and stab wounds all over her body - she had been stabbed in her knees, genitals, breasts, neck and head - but most of the wounds were concentrated on and above her chest.

In a twist to the case, the prosecution in their closing address asked the jurors not to find guilt on the second and third heads of indictment, which relate to the use of a knife in a homicide and the lack of a permit to carry the knife.

The reason, it was explained, was an oversight by the prosecution which meant that the men had been indicted for offences which had not yet been introduced at the time the murder took place.

The jury was not convinced by the prosecution's other arguments, finding both Habesh and Mahouachi not guilty of murdering Grech.

Judge Aaron Bugeja presided over the trial.

Lawyers Edward Gatt and Ishmael Psaila represented Habesh, while Simon Micallef Stafrace represented Mahouachi.  

Roberto Montalto appeared on behalf of the Grech family.

The prosecution was led by Anthony Vella and Abigail Caruana from the Attorney General.

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