Update 5: Paceville murder trial - Eyewitness heard accused demanding €50 from the victim
Eyewitness heard accused demanding €50 from the victim
Updated - Bail denied
A taxi driver who witnessed a fight which led to a man being killed in Paceville earlier this month, told a court this morning that one of the accused had repeatedly demanded €50 as he punched and kicked victim Mario Galea.
The evidence was given during the resumption of the compilation of evidence against Joe Zahra and Brian Cini, both 28, who are both pleading not guilty to the murder of hairdresser Mario Galea, 47, who was beaten up and left unconscious in the street, where he was run over by a taxi.
When the sitting was due to start this morning, Magistrate Neville Camilleri lambasted the defence and the prosecution for not turning up on time.
The hearing was due to resume at 9.15 but the prosecution and defence were absent, other than for lawyer Franco Galea. The sitting started at 9.30.
Magistrate Camilleri said that everyone had to pull the same rope if the court was to function efficiently. He said that excuses that people had to appear before other Magistrates did not hold water since only two Magistrates were sitting today.
Inspector Trevor Micallef said that the lift which brings up the accused was not working.
EYEWITNESS UNABLE TO IDENTIFY THE ACCUSED
When the sitting started, eyewitness Lawrence Falzon, a manager at Wembley Garage when the incident happened on the night of August 9-10.
He had phoned the police twice to alert them to an argument involving three men, and then a fight.
He said one of the men, wearing a green top, was speaking on a mobile phone and then started arguing with another man wearing a grey top. Another man, wearing a red top, was not involved in the fight.
Mr Falzon was not able to identify with certainty the accused as the persons involved in the fight.
The defence pointed out that his description of what the people involved had been wearing was different from what he had told the police. Mr Falzon said he had been focused on phoning the police. He could not today quite remember the colours that the men were wearing, he said, but he had given his description to the police. The man wearing the red top was the victim.
Replying to further questioning, he insisted that two men were involved in the fight, not three.
The court also heard that Nobert Aquilina, the driver of the taxi which ran over Galea, had opted, as is his right, not to give evidence in order not to incriminate himself.
ACCUSED WAS DEMANDING €50
Peter Grima, another taxi driver who witnessed the fight, said the victim, who was wearing a red top, was repeatedly punched and kicked by Joseph Zahra - whom he identified in court.
He remembered Zahra telling the victim - 'Give me the €50' while victim Mr Galea said he had no money on him.
Mr Grima said he recognised Zahra because he had spoken to him a few days before the incident.
At the end of the sitting Magistrate Camilleri said there was enough evidence for the accused to be placed under a Bill of Indictment.
Both accused requested bail. Lawyer Gianella de Marco, representing Mr Cini said that by no stretch of the imagination could her client be found guilty of murder.
She said that he had a full time job and no criminal record.
Dr Franco Galea, for his client Joseph Zahra, said that Zahra has an eight year old son with medical problems.
Police Inspector Keith Arnoud did not object to bail but called for a heavy deposit.
Bail was later denied.