Witness told police he saw migrant being kicked on the ground
Migrant was certified dead 20 minutes after the authorities were told of his re-arrest
One of the accused following the killing of Malian migrant Mamadou Kamara told the police that he saw a soldier kicking the migrant on his back and below the stomach as he lay on the ground, a court heard today.
A description of the events as they unfolded was given by Police Inspectors Keith Arnoud and Anthony Cachia during the compilation of evidence against Lance Bombardier Gordon Pickard, 35 of Zabbar, who stand accused of the obstruction of justice.
Another two AFM soldiers, Sgt Mark Anthony Diimech, 44, and Gunner Clive Cuschieri, 29, stand accused of the murder, which took place in a Detention Service van at the end of last month.
The inspectors said the migrant had been causing a disturbance at Safi detention centre and there had also been complained by other migrants, who said he was annoying them and pilfering their clothes.
The authorities asked the migrants to be patient as Kamara was to be taken to hospital on the following morning.
However matters continued to deteriorate and it was decided that Kamara should be taken to an isolation room.
As he was being escorted, he pushed a plain clothes officer, jumped over fences and escaped towards Safi.
The two accused started to look for him in a Detention Service van while Pickard did likewise in his private car.
At 11.45 a,m. a woman phoned on emergency number 112 to report that she could see a migrant hiding behind a blue van in Safi.
The soldiers arrived in the van and tried to apprehend him.
He put up a fight and Sgt Dimech put his whole body weight on top of him to hold him down. However, that was not enough and the migrant almost managed to get up.
Pickard told the police that he saw Cuschieri kicking Kamara in the back and below his stomach in order to keep him down. The sergeant was wearing army boots.
Cuschieri subsequently admitted that he had kicked Kamara, but said he was aiming for his thigh.
Kamara was then arrested and put at the back of the van.
At 12.10 the Safi detention centre authorities were informed that the migrant had been apprehended.
By 12.38 a.m., however, the centre was informed that Kamara was dead. A doctor certified him dead a few minutes earlier, at 12.30 a.m.
The van headed back to Safi, and those on board agreed among themselves to say that the migrant had struggled to the end. Pickard himself stuck to this version in his first statement to the police, before changing it.
It had resulted that the migrant died in the van, while his feet and hands were handcuffed. Those on board decided to head for Paola health centre.
The case continues.