‘I don’t remember’: common phrase by player who approached others to lose Malta match
Seyble Zammit, a football player who had admitted to charges relating to a match-fixing scandal, used the phrase ‘I don’t remember’ countless times during cross-examination yesterday in the case against Ronnie Mackay, 34, from St Julian’s, who is being accused of trying to fix a match.
Zammit had previously pleaded guilty in court, but the court did not punish him because of his collaboration with the police.
The password to Zammit’s phone was required by the court expert who was assigned to examine it. Zammit, however, claimed not to remember it. He told the court that the police had previously asked him for the password and he had tried to remember it, giving two possible codes, which the court expert tried unsuccessfully. Zammit said that he would normally just swipe his thumb over the screen and it would unlock. The expert, however, explained that once the phone goes off, then a pin is required to unlock it.
During the compilation of evidence, heard before Magistrate Joe Mifsud, Zammit claimed that Mr Mackay was the person who had approached him in the first place, and that he vaguely knew of Mr Mackay before that. He claimed that Mr Mackay had called him on his phone, but he had never given him his number.
He told the court, while being cross-examined by defence lawyer Dr Gianella de Marco, that he had approached other players, telling them that there was someone who wanted to fix the Malta vs Montenegro Under21 game.
Dr de Marco quoted a statement made by player Luke Montebello, who said that he had been approached by Zammit and had subsequently met him in a car with another player – Kyle Cesare. “He said that Seyble had told him to fix the match, and that he didn’t hadn’t accepted and exited the car. Is this true?” Dr de Marco asked. Zammit said that Mr Montebello didn’t give him a chance to say much before exiting the car.
Dr de Marco then said that Mr Montebello had testified that Zammit offered him between €2,500 and €3,000, and that Zammit did not mention arranging a meeting with anyone else. Zammit said he did not remember this, and only remembered saying that he wanted Mr Montebello to meet Mr Mackay.
“You are saying that he left without giving you a chance to say much. He is saying that you offered him to lose the game, offering him the aforementioned amount.” Zammit replied that he did not remember that.
Zammit said he had met with many players back then. Asked how many, he said he did not remember. “Six to seven months isn’t a long time,” Dr de Marco said, referring to the time since the alleged matchfixing attempt occurred.
He then proceeded to name a few of the players.
“Do you try to fix matches often?” Dr de Marco asked. “No, this was the first time,” he replied.
“If I were to say that a year earlier you had made a similar offer to other players, what would you say?” Dr de Marco asked. “You’re mistaken,” he said.
The prosecution objected to the above question.
Asked whether he was known for match-fixing, Zammit replied in the negative.
In the case of Kyle Cesare, he said that he had entered Kyle Cesare’s car in Pietà, and they waited for Mr Mackay, who brought an Asian person to the car.
Dr de Marco asked what the conversation was about, to which Zammit said that Mr Cesare and the Asian man had basically shook hands, said “ok” and “confirmed” before the Asian man left.
Dr de Marco pressed him on what the conversation in the car had been about, given that they spent around five minutes inside, to which he eventually said he did not remember.
He also told the court that the fixing for that match was ultimately cancelled, as not enough players had agreed.
Dr Gianluca Caruana Curren is also appearing for the defence.