Paq­paqli case post­poned due to lack of in­ter­preter

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Kevin Schem­bri Or­land

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.

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