MaltaToday previous editions

MaltaToday 10 May 2023 MIDWEEK

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 5 of 15

6 maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 10 MAY 2023 NEWS NEWS MATTHEW AGIUS A lawyer defending a truck driv- er over a fatal accident in which a 71-year-old man was reversed over, has accused the defendant's employer and his insurer of at- tempting to shirk their respon- sibilities and make him bear the blame alone. This emerged during a some- what rowdy sitting in the com- pilation of evidence against 36-year-old Davide Manunta of Mosta continued before Magis- trate Donatella Frendo Dimech this morning. Manunta had been arraigned by summons in January on charges of involuntary homicide and neg- ligent driving, in connection with a fatal accident in Birżebbuġa that occurred in February 2022. The incident in question had claimed the life of a 71-year-old man from Mġarr who died after being run over by a truck in Triq Wied il-Qoton in Birżebbuġa. In previous sittings, the court had been told that the victim appears to have been assisting Manunta to manoeuvre the truck at the time he was run over. One of the witnesses who tes- tified today was Adrian Calleja, who is listed in the police report as having gone on site in his ca- pacity as the health and safety of- ficer for the contractor, J&P Borg. Lawyer Alexia Zammit Mackeon, representing J&P Borg's insurer, Elmo Insurance, suggested that the witness be ad- ministered a caution unless the prosecution declared that he is not going to face charges in rela- tion to the incident. Police Inspector Jonathan Cas- sar, prosecuting, said he intended to summon a witness from the Occupational Health and Safety Authority. "I am not comfortable saying that charges will or will not be pressed at this stage," said the inspector. The Court pointed out that this decision should have been taken earlier and ordered the witness to take the stand. But lawyer Charlon Gouder, representing J&P Borg in the pro- ceedings, insisted that the inspec- tor must declare his intentions with regards to pressing charges. A loud exchange of views in- volving the lawyers for both sides, as well as the court, ensued. Lawyer Franco Galea, appear- ing parte civile for the victim described the company's court- room actions as "inviting me to file a criminal complaint." The court administered the caution, explaining to the witness that he had the right not to an- swer questions which he thought could incriminate him. Gouder interjected again, to ac- cuse the prosecution of having al- ready decided not to press charg- es because "it was afraid of what would happen out there." The witness told the court that he had been the company's Health and Safety officer and manager since 2016. But asked to specify the date on which he had filed an incident re- port with the OHSA about the fa- tality, he replied that he hadn't. "I did not file an incident report be- cause the information I received from the police was that it was a traffic accident." If the incident were to be clas- sified as a traffic accident, there would be no grounds for pro- ceedings against the man's em- ployer. The magistrate ordered the in- spector to decide whether the po- lice would be proceeding against any of the witnesses, by the next sitting. "If the OHSA wanted to press charges, they should have done so." But Galea pointed out if an in- cident report had not even been filed, the OHSA would not have been able to press charges. "They want this poor man to carry all the blame alone," said the lawyer. The court lambasted the law- yers on both sides of the dispute. Galea declared that his ques- tions would only be aimed at establishing the dynamics of the incident, explaining that the court expert appointed during the magisterial inquiry had only exhibited a site plan and had not even established what manoeuvre was being attempted at the time. After the eruption of anoth- er shouting match, the Court threatened to report the bicker- ing lawyers to the Commission for the Administration of Justice. The sitting was adjourned to next month for the conclusion of the prosecution's evidence. Police inspector Jonathan Cas- sar is prosecuting. Lawyers Franco Galea and Rob- erto Spiteri appeared for the par- te civile. Lawyer Matthew Xuereb assist- ed the accused. Lawyer defending truck driver slams employer, insurer for shirking their responsibilities Charles III has 'keen interest' in visiting restored Villa Gwardamanga MARIANNA CALLEJA CHARLES III has shown a keen interest in the restoration of Villa Gwardamangia, the fa- bled stately home where his mother Elizabeth II spent her Malta years in the early 1950s. Accoring to British High Commissioner to Malta Kath- erine Ward, Charles – anoint- ed king on 6 May 2023 – has a strong interest in the home that once hosted his parents shortly after their marriage. The Maltese government had acquired the villa from its private owners shortly before Elizabeth's death, and is cur- rently renovating the premis- es to welcome visitors to the abode that hosted the late Queen of England. Speaking on TVM's Xtra on Monday, Ward said that the King had also expressed his ea- gerness with President George Vella to visit Villa Gwarda- mangia once the restoration is complete. Ward said that in a lengthy conversation with the British sovereign, her posting in Mal- ta had elicited the attention of Charles, noting his fasci- nation with the island. "This, I believe, is testament to the King's genuine interest in the country." Malta has gifted the King a donation to the National Trust in honour of Charles's links to the organisation, emphasising his commitment to environ- mental causes. Happy days: Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth pose for the camera during their stay in Malta before 1952 Charles III has shown a keen interest in the restoration of Villa Gwardamanga, the fabled stately home where his mother Elizabeth II spent her Malta years in the early 1950s

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of MaltaToday previous editions - MaltaToday 10 May 2023 MIDWEEK