Man guilty of dan­ger­ous driv­ing and caus­ing harm to an­other driver

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Kevin Schem­bri Or­land

A man who sped up on the wrong-side of a hill in Kalkara has been found guilty of driv­ing dan­ger­ously and caus­ing harm to an on­com­ing driver.

Two ver­sions were given to the Court, one by the de­fence and one by the ac­cused.

The in­ci­dent oc­curred at 1 pm on 31 March, 2013 in Ma­rina Road, Kalkara. Those in­volved in the ac­ci­dent were Jes­mond Fenech, the vic­tim, and Raphael Aquilina, the ac­cused. As a re­sult of the in­ci­dent, Mr Fenech suf­fered a per­ma­nent weak­ness in his right hand, af­ter glass from the driver’s side win­dow broke as a re­sult of the im­pact. The mir­ror was also dam­aged.

Mr Fenech said that he was go­ing down the hill when he saw a car, driven by the ac­cused, com­ing towards him at speed on the wrong side of the road. He claimed that he pulled in­wards as much as pos­si­ble and nearly came to a halt, flash­ing his lights and toot­ing his horn to at­tract the ac­cused’s at­ten­tion. He tes­ti­fied that the ac­cused still ended up hit­ting his front-right door, and kept go­ing.

Mr Fenech said that he had to be op­er­ated on as a re­sult of the in­ci­dent. He said he later found the ac­cused dou­ble parked in front of his res­i­dence, con­fronted him and asked him why he had driven off. He also asked him to ac­com­pany him to the po­lice sta­tion. Mr Fenech said that when he went to the sta­tion to file a re­port, he was told that he was bleed­ing from his hand, and he then pro­ceeded to the health cen­tre. His ver­sion was cor­rob­o­rated by his wife, Josette Fenech.

The ac­cused, how­ever, gave a dif­fer­ent ver­sion of events. He claimed he was driv­ing up the Bighi hill, and when he ar­rived in front of Villa Portelli, he saw Mr Fenech’s ve­hi­cle com­ing from the op­po­site di­rec­tion. He added that while he did hear a loud noise, he did not re­alise that there had been an im­pact and saw the other ve­hi­cle con­tinue down the road, and thus he also con­tin­ued on. He also claimed that when he ar­rived home, an­other car pulled up, and Mr Fenech came out of the car and punched him in the face, an ac­cu­sa­tion which Mr Fenech de­nied.

While tes­ti­fy­ing later in the case how­ever, the ac­cused said that when he saw Mr Fenech driv­ing down the hill, he pulled to the right. Af­ter a while cor­rected his state­ment, say­ing he pulled to the left. He tes­ti­fied in court that the two ve­hi­cles bumped mir­ror to mir­ror, and that Mr Fenech kept on go­ing and did not stop. He held that he was driv­ing slowly, and that Mr Fenech was the one driv­ing at speed.

The Court noted that no sketch in­di­cat­ing the po­si­tion of the ve­hi­cles was made, be­cause the ac­cused left the scene of the in­ci­dent, and the vic­tim had to fol­low him in or­der to get the de­tails needed to file a re­port. As such, the Court had to rely on the ver­sions of the two driv­ers re­gard­ing the dy­nam­ics of the in­ci­dent.

Mag­is­trate Au­drey Demi­coli noted that there were two con­flict­ing ver­sions of the events. The Court chose to be­lieve the vic­tim’s ver­sion of events, as his ver­sion of events was more prob­a­ble, was cor­rob­o­rated by his wife, and the ve­hi­cle dam­age was more com­pat­i­ble with his ver­sion. There was also noth­ing from his be­hav­iour or in his tes­ti­mony which would lead the courts to doubt his cred­i­bil­ity.

The Court noted, how­ever, that un­like Mr Fenech, the ac­cused’s tes­ti­mony was not con­sis­tent. At first, the court said, the ac­cused said he heard a noise and did not re­alise that the two ve­hi­cles had crashed, later he said he no­ticed that the two ve­hi­cles had crashed mir­ror-to-mir­ror but kept on go­ing as he saw the other ve­hi­cle not com­ing to a halt.

The court also noted that the ac­cused said he had pulled right and then cor­rected him­self say­ing he pulled left af­ter in­sis­tence from his lawyer. The court also noted that no rea­son was given as to why he had to pull left or right.

The court found that the in­juries to Mr Fenech’s hand could not have been as a re­sult of punching the ac­cused.

The ac­cused was found guilty, was dis­qual­i­fied from hold­ing a li­cence for three months and fined €2,000.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.