Jury finds man ac­cused of 1993 mur­der at Chef Italy not guilty

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

A jury has found the man ac­cused of the 1993 mur­der of Vit­to­rio Cas­sone at Chef Italy in St Ju­lian’s not guilty.

The iden­tity of the ac­cused is un­able to be pub­lished be­cause he was a mi­nor at the time the mur­der took place. Af­ter long hours of de­lib­er­a­tion, the jury unan­i­mously voted not guilty.

In ad­di­tion to this, the jury also voted, 7-2, to ac­quit him of a num­ber of sec­ondary charges

Over the past cou­ple of weeks, wit­nesses listed as the pros­e­cu­tion and the de­fence made their case. A large num­ber of wit­nesses took the stand and were asked to de­scribe the events that took place 23 years ago.

Mr Cas­sone was bru­tally mur­dered in an armed hold-up of the food shop/restau­rant where he worked be­hind the counter. The mur­derer walked in to the shop, and shot Mr Cas­sone af­ter he stum­bled to get money out of the cash reg­is­ter. He died on the spot. The de­fence stressed the point that all wit­nesses called to tes­tify could never be 100 per cent cer­tain of the de­scrip­tion of the mur­derer, and who they saw ex­actly.

In the first round of in­ves­ti­ga­tions fol­low­ing the mur­der, the pros­e­cu­tion failed to pro­duce ev­i­dence be­yond rea­son­able doubt, and there­fore had to re­frain from ar­raign­ing the ac­cused at the time.

The case was then again re­opened in 2003 by the then newly set up Homi­cide Squad. The case was stalled in 2006 when a jour­nal­ist pub­lished the name of the ac­cused, with the ar­gu­ment be­ing raised that a jury’s opin­ion would be skewed due to the ac­cused’s che­quered crim­i­nal his­tory.

A num­ber of wit­nesses de­clared to be al­most cer­tain, fail­ing to com­mit 100 per cent for fear of their lives.

Lawyers Kevin Val­letta and Anne Marie Cu­ta­jar pros­e­cuted. Lawyers Franco De­bono and Marion Camil­leri were de­fence coun­sel. The court was presided by Judge An­to­nio Mizzi.

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