Pierre Dar­manin ac­quit­ted of ig­nor­ing po­lice sum­mons af­ter al­leged bomb threat

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - NEWS -

The Court of Ap­peal has over­turned the con­vic­tion of a man re­cently named in con­nec­tion to the Daphne Caru­ana Gal­izia’s al­leged killers, on charges of fail­ing to obey po­lice sum­mons about an al­leged threat to plant a bomb un­der a woman’s car.

Fish­ing boat oper­a­tor Pierre Dar­manin had been charged with ha­rass­ment, threat­en­ing his for­mer part­ner Rachel Tua, and with the mis­use of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions equip­ment.

He had been found not guilty at first in­stance of all charges bar that of fail­ing to obey a po­lice sum­mons and re­laps­ing, which he ap­pealed.

Dar­manin was re­cently men­tioned by lead­ing Ital­ian news­pa­per La Repub­blica as hav­ing called mur­der sus­pect Al­fred De­gior­gio shortly af­ter phon­ing Daphne Caru­ana Gal­izia, over a story nam­ing him in con­nec­tion to an­other car bomb at­tack. Two Mal­tese news­pa­pers have in­sisted the call logs show oth­er­wise: Caru­ana Gal­izia called Dar­manin.

Al­fred De­gior­gio is one of the three men ac­cused of car­ry­ing out the car bomb at­tack which cost Caru­ana Gal­izia her life in 2017. Dar­manin’s name had cropped up in a blog post on al­leged fuel smug­gling that Caru­ana Gal­izia wrote about on 31 Oc­to­ber 2016. Dar­manin had been in­ves­ti­gated for fuel smug­gling but never charged af­ter a fish­ing ves­sel that be­longed to him was im­pounded in 2013.

In the ap­peals case re­gard­ing Dar­manin’s threat to Tua, the court ob­served that in Fe­bru­ary 2017 the woman had called the po­lice say­ing that she had re­ceived a phone call from Dar­manin, who also called her hus­band, telling her that if they didn’t drop court pro­ceed­ings they had filed against him “he would make a bomb and blow them up to­gether“.

The threat­en­ing phone call was made at night, she said. The woman said that at first she hadn’t paid any at­ten­tion as the man was “con­stantly threat­en­ing to kill her”, but when two days later her key fob and car keys failed to open her car, she went to the po­lice, sus­pect­ing the man had done some­thing to it. No ex­plo­sive de­vice was found. In her judg­ment, Madam Jus­tice Con­suelo Scerri Her­rera noted that the pros­e­cu­tion had made a tech­ni­cal er­ror in pre­sent­ing its ev­i­dence, ren­der­ing it hearsay. The ac­cu­sa­tion of fail­ing to obey a po­lice sum­mons was based on the tes­ti­mony of an of­fi­cer who told the court that the re­port of Tua’s ac­count was made by an­other of­fi­cer, who was not brought to tes­tify.

“If what is re­counted is be­ing pre­sented as proof of its con­tents that would be hearsay ev­i­dence and in­ad­mis­si­ble. But if that re­counted is pre­sented, not as such but as proof of some­thing that was truly said in a par­tic­u­lar cir­cum­stance, date, place and time, then this would not be hearsay ev­i­dence and there­fore ad­mis­si­ble for cer­tain le­git­i­mate le­gal aims.”

“But in this case, the pros­e­cu­tion sim­ply pre­sented the af­fi­davit of this wit­ness and did not check who had given the or­der to the ap­pel­lant to go and talk to the po­lice. It should be re­mem­bered that the ac­cused has no need to prove his in­no­cence; it is al­ways the obli­ga­tion of the pros­e­cu­tion to prove guilt... be­yond rea­son­able doubt that it was the ac­cused and no one else who could have com­mit­ted the with which crimes he is charged.”

The judge con­firmed the man’s ac­quit­tal on the first four charges and added an ac­quit­tal on the charges of fail­ing to obey sum­mons and re­cidi­vism.

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