Po­lice of­fi­cer tells of mo­ment ag­gres­sor flung his car door open and launched bru­tal at­tack

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Neil Camil­leri

A po­lice of­fi­cer re­counted yes­ter­day how a road rage ag­gres­sor had pulled his car door open and lunged at him, punch­ing him with both fists un­til he had al­most lost con­scious­ness.

PC Chris­tian Agius was giv­ing ev­i­dence against An­gel At­tard, 40, from Vit­to­riosa, who stands charged over the 3 Jan­uary as­sault against the off-duty of­fi­cer. The in­ci­dent took place in St Ju­lian’s. PC Agius suf­fered a bro­ken arm and per­ma­nent dis­fig­ure­ment to his face.

Last week a court heard how Mr At­tard, who prac­tises mar­i­tal arts, has a his­tory of road rage in­ci­dents and has served time in prison. The po­lice of­fi­cers said he was go­ing clothes shop­ping in Sliema with his girl­friend. He en­tered the Paceville tun­nels, driv­ing on the fast lane. “I saw this car tail­gat­ing us. He was so close I could not see the num­ber plate.”

As soon as he left the tun­nel he switched to the in­ner lane but the car fol­lowed suit. “He was com­ing at us at high speed. I thought he was com­ing for sat­is­fac­tion.

“We stopped in traf­fic and sud­denly I heard my door open­ing and a fist came fly­ing through the door and into my face. I asked what he was do­ing, and told him I was a po­lice of­fi­cer but he said he did not care (in rather colour­ful Mal­tese lan­guage) and kept hit­ting me.”

PC Agius said he could hardly move be­cause his seat­belt was still fas­tened. “I tried to block his punches with my hands. Even­tu­ally I un­did my seat­belt but he came to­wards me, knee on the driver’s seat, and kept on punch­ing. My girl­friend was try­ing to help me. I had blood stream­ing down my face and I al­most lost con­scious­ness.”

Fi­nally the ag­gres­sor let go and stepped out of the car. “I fol­lowed him out­side be­cause I thought he was go­ing to get some­thing out of his car. I asked him why he had as­saulted me and he said that I had al­most hit his car ear­lier.” PC Agius said the ac­cused ig­nored or­ders to stop and sped off.

The wit­ness said the in­ci­dent left him need­ing stitches above and below his right eye. He is also wait­ing for an op­er­a­tion to fix his bro­ken nose. The con­sta­ble also suf­fered a bro­ken fin­ger and a torn ten­don which, doc­tors told him, could never fully heal.

The wit­ness said he lost some feel­ing in his mouth “I had an­other ap­point­ment yes­ter­day, a week af­ter the in­ci­dent and I still have no sen­sa­tion in my mouth.”

Ques­tioned by his lawyer, Dr Arthur Az­zopardi, PC Agius said he had not made any ges­tures or of­fended the ac­cused.

Lawyer Franco De­bono, who is ap­pear­ing for the ac­cused, also asked the wit­ness whether he had given the ac­cused the mid­dle fin­ger. “No, not true,” the wit­ness replied.

Dr De­bono sug­gested that the wit­ness had only stated he was a po­lice of­fi­cer to stop the beat­ing. He also asked why he had stopped his car, to which the po­lice of­fi­cer replied that a van was stopped in front of him. He de­nied hav­ing stopped to con­front the ac­cused.

The lawyer then sug­gested that the wit­ness had changed lanes dan­ger­ously but thought noth­ing of it be­cause he was a po­lice of­fi­cer.

The vic­tim’s girl­friend, Emily Pis­copo, also tes­ti­fied. She con­firmed that the ac­cused was tail­gat­ing their car through the tun­nels. Near­ing the exit, PC Agius flicked the in­di­ca­tor and, once out of the tun­nel he switched to the slow lane. They stopped be­hind a white van and at this point the ac­cused opened Chris­tian’s door and, in a split sec­ond, punched him on the nose.

The wit­ness said she was hold­ing her boyfriend’s face in an at­tempt to de­flect the blows but the on­slaught lasted for around three min­utes.

When Chris­tian and the ag­gres­sor stepped out of the car she stayed put. “I was in shock. My coat was cov­ered in blood.” Ms Pis­copo said she is still re­ceiv­ing treat­ment as a re­sult of the trauma.

The case is be­ing presided over by Mag­is­trate Donatella Frendo Dimech. Lawyers Franco De­bono and Amadeus Cachia are ap­pear­ing for the ac­cused. Lawyer Arthur Az­zopardi is ap­pear­ing for PC Agius. In­spec­tor Matthew Spag­nol pros­e­cuted.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.