CCTV footage showed vicious beating of Paceville victim Mario Galea
A CCTV camera clearly showed the fight which led to the death of a man who was run over by a taxi in Paceville earlier this month, a court was told today.
At the start of the compilation of evidence against Joe Zahra of St Julians and Brian Cini of Victoria, both 28, who stand accused of murder, Police Inspector Keith Arnaud said that on August 10 at 3.45 a.m. the police received an urgent telephone call about how two men were assaulting a man.
Some five minutes later another call came in, with the police being informed that the two men had driven off in a green Peugeot car while the victim was on the ground. A short while later a third caller said a taxi had run over the victim.
The green car was intercepted by the police at the traffic lights on the Regional Road and the two accused who were in it were arrested.
Zahra was at the back while Cini was driving.
The inspector said the fight had been recorded by a number of CCTV cameras. The victim, Mario Galea, 47, was repeatedly hit around the head. Zahra was seen landing powerful punches on Galea and also kicking him.
At one time the victim Galea fell on his knees and was pulled by his long hair onto the pavement opposite the Frank Salt offices, where he was again repeatedly punched, before collapsing unconscious.
Witnesses to the crime had described the accused by what they were wearing. They described Zahra as the person who had hit Galea. The CCTV footage also showed Zahra viciously attacking Galea.
The Green Peugeot driven by Cini then picked up Zahra and drove off.
Eyewitness Peter Grima had told the police that he heard one of the aggressors telling the victim 'Get out your €50'.
An Iranian man who was driving past witnessed the incident and ran off in panic.
The CCTV then showed the taxi coming around the corner. A crowd was in the area at the time. The taxi slowed down before turning the corner, but ran over the body of Mario Galea.
After being arrested, Cini told the police that Zahra and himself had met victim Mario Galea and they went to St George's Bay. Zahra was angry with Galea on an issue involving money and a mobile phone which Zahra claimed Galea had stolen from him.
Cini had said that Galea appeared to be drunk. Cini said he tried to calm Zahra down. At one time all three got into the Peugeot, where the fight grew.
They drove into Paceville where they got out the car. Cini admitted punching the victim once and then going back in the car. Zahra returned to the car and boasted of having given Galea a deserved beating.
In his own version, Zahra told the police they had had an argument over a mobile phone. Galea had asked to use his mobile phone and then disappeared. Zahra and Cini got into the car and looked for him. They tracked him down near the Swieqi tunnel and Galea got into the car, where the fight started and continued in Paceville.
When confronted by the CCTV footage, Zahra denied being aware that Galea had collapsed on the ground. He did not known he had blood on his own shoes and he denied that the fight was over money.
The hearing continues on Monday.