The Malta Independent 17 July 2024, Wednesday
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Bomb suspect to be examined by psychiatrists ahead of possible insanity plea

Tuesday, 18 June 2024, 11:46 Last update: about 29 days ago

The man accused of planting a homemade explosive device outside the Labour Party Headquarters last month is to be assessed by psychiatrists ahead of a possible insanity plea.

18-year-old David Brincat from Santa Venera wore a blank facial expression as he sat in the dock as the compilation of evidence against him began earlier today. 

He had been charged with a list of offences relating to terrorism and the illicit manufacture of explosives last month, following a police investigation into the discovery of an explosive device placed in a dustbin outside the Labour Party building, which traced it back to Brincat. 

Police reportedly found TATP - a volatile homemade explosive that has been used in terrorist attacks overseas- inside the garage where Brincat was residing.

It is understood that the police investigation also revealed that Brincat had plans to produce and plant more explosive devices with specific targets in mind.

When the compilation of evidence against Brincat continued on Tuesday, before Magistrate Kevan Azzopardi, lawyer Nicholas Mifsud, joint defence counsel with lawyers Mario Mifsud and Lara Attard, asked the court to order a psychiatric evaluation of the defendant before the compilation of evidence proceeded any further. 

The lawyer pointed out that since his arraignment, Brincat had been held in preventive custody at the Forensic Unit of Mount Carmel Hospital.

Prosecuting police inspector Wayne Camilleri told the court that he had exhibited certificates indicating that Brincat had been fit for interrogation and fit for trial, but the defence said it was arguing that Brincat was insane at the time that he allegedly committed the offence.

Magistrate Azzopardi silently read the certificate declaring Brincat fit for trial.

Prosecutor Kaylie Bonnett asked the court, in view of the fact that the defence of insanity was being raised, to appoint a panel of three experts to examine Brincat. 

The court was initially reluctant to do so before hearing inspector Camilleri testify about the investigation, because the relevant period of time in which the defendant was claiming to be insane had to first be established.

Police Inspector Lydon Zammit explained that the period the police were looking at was in the 12 months preceding the incident, although “ideological discussions” go back further. 

The court upheld the request and tasked three psychiatrists to establish whether Brincat was legally insane when he allegedly committed the crimes he is charged with.

The panel of experts were ordered to assess the defendant and draw up a report on their findings as soon as possible.

The case was adjourned to July for this purpose.

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