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