Columnist acquitted of leaving accident scene
Columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia was yesterday cleared of leaving the scene of an accident where she was accused of reversing into a car before insulting the driver.
Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit said she believed Ms Caruana Galizia when she testified that the accident had never occurred.
Keith Grima had reported to the police that last September 27, at 8.50pm, Ms Caruana Galizia had reversed her vehicle into his car when they were on level three of Mater Dei Hospital’s underground car park.
Ms Caruana Galizia said in court that her mother had been taken to hospital in a serious condition. She got there in the afternoon and remained near her mother until the evening.
She said she walked into the car park, got into it and had not even started to manoeuvre the car when she noticed that a man drove his car right behind hers.
The car park was half empty and so she could not understand why this person had chosen to drive exactly behind her car when there was so much space.
Ms Caruana Galizia explained to Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit that she always adopted a defensive attitude because she was subjected to abuse and harassment wherever she went.
She testified that Mr Grima called her “cruel” and “arrogant”, blaming the Labour Party’s television station One for this and admitting she was certain that many people who hurled such insults did not read one single paragraph of anything she had ever written.
The incident happened on the same day the PL had put up a billboard featuring her face and that of former Nationalist minister Austin Gatt, she added.
Ms Caruana Galizia said it was obviously not in her interest to reverse her car into another. She had been driving for 30 years and was no 18-year-old girl who had just started driving.
She recalled that at about 10pm that day, when she was out having dinner with her husband, the police called, ordering her to go to the police station and take her car.
She said she told the police she would not be doing so because she had spent a very long time in hospital and, more importantly, because nothing had happened.
Mr Grima testified that he had seen a BMW reversing out of a parking spot. He had stopped his car two spaces away with the intent to drive into the space vacated by the BMW.
The BMW continued moving and he sounded the horn to attract the driver’s attention but the car kept moving and hit his.
He got out, walked over to the driver’s side and realised it was Ms Caruana Galizia before telling her that she had damaged his car.
He said she told him to not be a redneck and not to be rude and then drove off.