Paqpaqli case postponed due to lack of interpreter
The Paqpaqli court case was postponed yesterday, after lengthy discussions regarding the lack of a professional Maltese to English interpreter for Paul Bailey.
The 11 members of the Paqpaqli Ghall-Istrina organising committee, including popular TV presenter Tonio Darmanin as well as British millionaire Paul Bailey, were in court over a crash at last year’s event that left 28 people injured.
Mr Bailey’s Porsche 918 clipped the grass and spun out of control, smashing into inadequate plastic barriers and into the watching crowd.
The event, then in its tenth edition, was organised by the Office of the President and was aimed to raise funds for the Malta Community Chest Fund.
All those accused are pleading not guilty on all charges. All are charged with, through unskillfulness, carelessness, imprudence or non-observance of regulations, involuntarily causing injuries of a grievous nature on various persons and having involuntarily caused damages on various vehicles.
The proceedings are being heard in Maltese, given that many of the defendants previously said that they were not comfortable with the proceedings being heard in English.
Dr Giannella de Marco, representing Mr Bailey, said that her client was unable to follow the last sitting as the interpreter provided was not very capable.
She said that she went to the Court registrar yesterday to specifically ask for a qualified interpreter, and was told that the police were responsible to provide such an interpreter.
At the sitting yesterday, there was no interpreter present, and a lawyer who was going to be appointed for the sitting members of the prosecution went out of the sitting to find one; but Dr de Marco objected.
The police then said that an official interpreter was called and was on the way.
The case, which began at 9am, was then postponed till 10am.
At around 10.20am, the interpreter arrived, however she was qualified in French, and not Maltese to English interpretation.
Magistrate Aaron Bugeja noted that Dr Giannella de Marco was right that an official interpreter should be appointed to help Mr Bailey.
The magistrate said that if the sitting was to continue, normal court practice of appointing a lawyer to interpret from Maltese to English would need to suffice, however Dr de Marco refused, saying that if the prosecution chose it could split the case against Mr Bailey from the rest of the defendants.
The case was postponed until 16 December.
The court ordered the prosecution and registrar to provide a qualified Maltese to English interpreter for the next sitting.
The defendants, aside from Mr Bailey and Mr Darmanin, are Angelo Mario Mannara - 51 from Birzebbuga, Christopher Sultana - 41 from Lija, David Bugeja - 38 from San Gwann, Brian Gatt - 44 from Naxxar, Jonathan Tonna - 40 from Naxxar, Kevin Perry - 44 from Qormi , Melvin Haber - 44 from Naxxar, Ian Keith Cilia Pisani - 38 from Mgarr, Jonathan Bruno - 41 from Mosta, Tonio Cini - 47 from Naxxar and Agostino De Giorgio - 52 from Sliema.
Police Inspectors Josric Mifsud, Silvio Magro and Hubert Cini are prosecuting.
Magistrate Aaron Bugeja presiding.