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MaltaToday 4 January 2023 MIDWEEK

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2 NEWS maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 4 JANUARY 2023 2 Paola man, 66, denies shooting neighbour in the face in New Year's Eve incident MAT THEW AGIUS A 66-year-old man was remanded in custody yesterday evening after he was charged with shooting the owner of a neighbouring field in the face with a shotgun on New Year's Eve. Martin Delia, a pensioner from Paola, was arraigned before magistrate Astrid May Grima just after 8pm on Monday, accused of attempted murder and de- struction of evidence, amongst other offences. Police say Delia had fired at the owner of a field adjacent to his from a distance of 5 metres, before destroying poten- tially incriminating CCTV footage. The court was told how Delia had been arrested not long after the shoot- ing, which occurred on Saturday morn- ing. A 30-year-old man from Paola, was initially arrested but later released without charge. Delia pleaded not guilty to the charg- es, which include attempted homicide, grievous bodily harm, carrying a weap- on during the commission of a crime against a person, carrying a weapon without a police permit and tampering with evidence. Defence lawyer Jose Herrera, repre- senting the accused together with law- yers Arthur Azzopardi, Jacob Magri, Matthew Xuereb and Daniel Attard, re- quested bail on account of Delia's rel- atively clean criminal record and poor health. Delia is suffering from terminal kidney disease, is on dialysis and is los- ing his eyesight, argued the lawyers. Prosecuting lawyer Kylie Bonnett from the Attorney General's Office ar- gued against bail, in view of the serious nature of the charges and the fact that the victim was Delia's neighbour and had identified him to the police. The request for bail was rejected due to the grave nature of the offence as well as the fact that civilian witnesses have yet to testify. The court ordered the prisons director ensure that De- lia received the medical treatment he needed. The prosecution was led by inspectors Wayne Camilleri and Antonello Magri together with AG lawyers Nathaniel Falzon and Kaylie Bonnett. Lawyer Franco Debono represented the victim as parte civile. THE Nationalist Party has lost its "political edge", and has no issue with which it can proper- ly rally voters, journalist James Debono said on XTRA. "Since the European Union referendum, it has not had an issue which helps it attract vot- ers," Debono said. Financial Analyst Steve Ellul who is touted to be a Labour MEP candidate, former Pie- ta mayor and lawyer Malcom Mifsud and MaltaToday senior journalist James Debono dis- cussed the country's political landscape in 2022 on Saviour Balzan's XTRA. Speaking on last March's gen- eral election, Malcom Mifsud said while he was not surprised with the election, he would have liked to see the PN close the gap on the Labour Party. "Between 2013 and 2022 we saw a lot of arrogance from La- bour, with the party getting such big majorities in all MEP, local council and general elections," he said. "Labour was not afraid of showing its strength." He said arrogance can be seen in the string of scandals which were emerging from govern- ment. MaltaToday senior journalist and political analyst said cor- ruption has always been part of political life in the country, and reducing Labour's election win to just the issue would be unjust. "I feel that to certain strata in society, the PN is becoming tox- ic, and people are not attracted towards the party," Debono said. "There were times when it was the underway round, for example during the European Union referendum." The debate also revolved around the political "edge" the PN is missing in its search for the popular vote. Mifsud argued the PN, before it aspires to do better in the electoral polls, it should decide on the message it would be communicating. "It also needs to attract the best minds to de- cide its strategy internally, and we have seen the lack of strategy in the past 10 years." Steve Ellul said crucial to the Labour Party's victories was the way it brought together the interests of the employers and workers, while continuing to grow the economy. "The impor- tance of the economic growth was highlighted when the coun- try needed it." "When people were faced with the biggest economic crisis in our lifetime, we saw how gov- ernment pooled its resources to address the situation," Ellul said. Debono pointed out the PN's past is still catching up to it, and issues that arise today are sometimes tied to the party's decisions when it was in gov- ernment. "For example, when an en- vironmental issue arises, the argument always goes back to what the PN did on rationali- sation and local plans," he said. "This obviously does not ab- solve Labour which continued in their stead." The debate also addressed the debating of controversial sub- jects like abortion and euthana- sia in the country. Labour youth wing presi- dent Georvin Bugeja and PN MEP candidate Peter Agius also spoke during the debate through video call. Looking ahead at 2023 Asked on the issues they think will dominate the political scene in 2023, James Debono said recent controversy sur- rounding the bribes made to former European Parliament vice-president Eva Kaili by Qa- tari representatives will create "understandable frustration" among people. "People rightly so will say that these highly paid individuals are still susceptible to corruption. What worries me is people might try to take an advantage in order to criticise the EU." Mifsud said he hopes that in 2023 no more stories of corrup- tion are revealed. "The culture of might is right should stop." Ellul concluded by saying that government should continue exploring new economic niches. Politics, corruption and government's economic roadmap in 2022 Financial analyst Steve Ellul, lawyer Malcom Mifsud and journalist James Debono - guests on Xtra - discuss the country's political landscape in 2022

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