AG’s ap­peal on Marsaxlokk mur­der ver­dict dis­missed

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

An ap­peal filed by the At­tor­ney Gen­eral against the re­sult of the trial by jury of Marsaxlokk monti hawker Al­lan Galea, who was sen­tenced to six years in 2015 af­ter a jury found him guilty of the homi­cide of loan shark An­thony Borg, known as il-Bona, whom he had stabbed to death in Marsaxlokk vil­lage square in 2010, has failed.

For the crime of ex­cus­able homi­cide and that of car­ry­ing a sharp or pointed ob­ject with­out the nec­es­sary li­cence, Mr Jus­tice An­to­nio Mizzi sen­tenced Galea to six years in prison in De­cem­ber 2015.

Galea would have been fac­ing a life sen­tence had he been con­victed of wil­ful homi­cide with­out the ex­cuse of ex­cess in self-de­fence.

But the At­tor­ney Gen­eral had ap­pealed the judg­ment, ini­tially de­mand­ing a retrial, al­though this re­quest was later with­drawn. The AG ar­gued that the judge had ex­erted in­flu­ence on the ju­rors in his clos­ing ad­dress.

The le­gal el­e­ments of le­git­i­mate self-de­fence were not all present, ar­gued the AG, say­ing the “el­e­ment of in­evitabil­ity” of harm was “en­tirely miss­ing.” The pros­e­cu­tor sub­mit­ted that the judge had also wrongly di­rected the ju­rors as to the pro­ba­tory value of the state­ments re­leased by the ac­cused and that the lack of con­trol he had ex­erted on the de­fence as it cros­sex­am­ined wit­ness Clifton Cas­sar “could have had an ef­fect on the fi­nal ver­dict.”

The jury had re­turned a 6-3 ver­dict of ex­cus­able homi­cide due to ex­cess of self-de­fence, as Borg had dis­charged a firearm in the mo­ments im­me­di­ately pre­ced­ing his death.

Af­ter giv­ing a blow-by-blow ac­count of the events which led to the stab­bing, as well as the judge’s clos­ing ad­dress to the ju­rors be­fore they re­tired to de­lib­er­ate on their ver­dict, the Su­pe­rior Court of Crim­i­nal Ap­peal, presided by Act­ing Pres­i­dent Judge Joseph Zam­mit McKeon, Judge Abi­gail Lo­faro and Judge Ed­wina Grima, ruled that there was no doubt that An­thony Borg died af­ter be­ing stabbed by the ac­cused. From a de­tailed ex­am­i­na­tion of the records of the pro­ceed­ings, the court ob­served that ju­rors, hav­ing heard the lawyers’ ar­gu­ments and the guid­ance of the judge in his ad­dress, could have legally and fac­tu­ally reached the con­clu­sion they had.

“This court sees that in these cir­cum­stances it can­not, now in the stage of re­vi­sion, in­vade the ter­ri­tory which the law re­serves for ju­rors and usurp a judg­ment which is not its own.”

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