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MT 27 March 2016

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maltatoday, SUNDAY, 27 MARCH 2016 3 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Micallef, Sasic and Dobra were arraigned on 26 February before Magis- trate Donatella Frendo Dimech and all three men pleaded not guilty. Taliana has so far failed to ob- tain the CCTV footage from the cameras belonging to the club where the incident took place, Soho Lounge, and the adjacent clubs, all owned by the same owners. The only footage provided was that of another club, Footloose, which is located three doors down from Soho Lounge. Defence lawyer Joe Giglio claimed that Aquilina repeat- edly tried to assault Micallef and Inspector Taliana told the court that the two bouncers only inter- vened after the young man tried to kick the manager. However, the CCTV footage shows Micallef punching Aquili- na in the face at least three times in the space of 60 seconds before the client retaliated with a flying kick that missed its target. At 3:44am, a bouncer repeat- edly punched and then slammed Aquilina to the ground before the young man ran at Micallef and attempted to kick him. After missing his target, Aquilina end- ed up on the ground and at this point at least three men, includ- ing Micallef are seen repeatedly kicking him. MaltaToday understands that Aquilina will also be charged in court. The incident began when an argument involving a Libyan man broke out inside the club and footage shows the man being beaten by the bouncers just out- side the venue at 3:30am. Some 10 minutes later, the Libyan man can be seen being beaten again by the bouncers in the club's en- trance and Aquilina and Stafrace intervened to stop the bouncers. After being punched and kicked by Micallef and a number of bouncers, the footage shows Aquilina speaking to Micallef and the bouncers with his hands behind his back. In the course of this discussion, Aquilina can be seen being repeatedly hit by Mi- callef and a number of bouncers. One of the bouncers who joined the fracas after exiting from an adjacent strip club owned by the same owners – which include Paceville impresario Hugo Chet- cuti – is clearly identifiable. The bare-chested bouncer has a vis- ible tattoo on his back and the footage also shows his face, but he was not one of the bouncers arrested. The incident is only the latest in a string of stories of abuse of authority by bouncers and the apparent impunity of establish- ment managers and owners. Questions sent to police com- missioner Michael Cassar about why the police took almost 40 minutes to arrive on the scene in one of Paceville's busiest streets and why only three persons were arrested when CCTV footage clearly shows more bouncers were involved, remain unan- swered. However, police sources told MaltaToday that the force's in- ternal audit unit is looking into the matter. MaltaToday also asked Cassar why the police have not got hold of CCTV footage from the cam- eras of Soho Lounge and adja- cent bars belonging to the same owners. Another question which re- mains unanswered is why the police took a day to compile a report despite the incident be- ing reported immediately by Aq- uilian's relative at the St Julian's police station. Aquilina's mother, Charmaine, told MaltaToday that the police officer at the St Julian's station who was on duty on Wednesday, 24 February told her that "no re- port was filed and no mention was made of the incident in the handover." "I started calling once I got to hospital at around 5am and the police at the St Julian's station continually told me that they had no report. The police ser- geant responsible for the station only visited Nicholas at hospital in the afternoon after I went on TV and the people started shar- ing the news story on Facebook," Aquilina said. She added that a magisterial inquiry only took place after the accused appeared in court two days later and the police took no pictures in hospital of Aquilina's and Stafrace's injuries. "By then evidence could have been tam- pered with or lost," she said. The court released Micallef on bail against a deposit of €5,000 and a personal guarantee of €5,000, ordering him to sign a bail book three times a week and observe a curfew. The court however denied bail to Savic – who had only been in Malta for four days before the incident – and Dobra in view of the lack of adequate ties to the island and their "apparent lack of respect for the law, including employment laws". News Police internal audit looking into alleged shortcomings A magisterial inquiry was held only after the accused appeared in court two days later 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 20-year-old Nicholas Aquilina sustained serious injuries to his face The Libyan man was thrown to the ground and beaten by at least three men Aquilina and Stafrace (top left) were beaten up by bouncers after sticking up for the Libyan man Aquilina was thrown to the ground by a bouncer and repeatedly punched and kicked The club manager (in white trousers) threw three punches at Aquilina in the space of 60 seconds Aquilina then attempted to kick the manager in retaliation but missed his target After the fall, Aquilina was kicked and punched by at least three men including Micallef An unidentified bouncer exited the adjacent strip club bare chested and got involved in the beating

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