A restaurant owner found guilty of the involuntary homicide of a 10-year-old has had his 32-month jail term converted to a two-year jail term suspended for three years.
Presiding over the appeal, Madam Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera confirmed Fatih Pancar's criminal responsibility but mitigated the punishment, while confirming the man's four-year driving ban.
As for the confiscation of the accused’s car, a red Peugeot which he had been driving at the time of the crash, this order was reversed following a declaration by the Police Commissioner that all necessary forensic tests on the vehicle had been duly completed.
Fully embracing the recommendations made by the magistrate presiding over the first court, Madam Justice Scerri Herrera called upon the legislator to consider the introduction of 'pedestrian offences’.
Pedestrians, just like drivers, had obligations, the judge noted.
"This court suggests that there ought to be sanctions upon those persons who chose to cross the road at a particular point, ignoring a pedestrian crossing or a safer spot along the road," concluded the court.
In the original sentence, while noting that Mr Pancar had been driving recklessly - which turned his car into a "lethal weapon capable of destroying life” - the court noted that the time had come for “senseless actions by pedestrians” to also be sanctioned by law.
Ten-year-old Rodwan Aghil, a Libyan national, had been crossing the road in St Andrew's on May 30, 2015, when he was hit by the red Peugeot being driven by Fatih Pancar, 38, from St Paul's Bay. Mr Pancar had been living in Malta for around 16 years at the time.
Witnesses had told the court that the driver had dropped to his knees and screamed hysterically when he realised he had run over the boy, who was hurled into the air by the impact. They had told the court that the Peugeot had driven across the amber traffic lights, going faster than the 40-50 kilometres an hour that they were travelling at.
However, it transpired that the boy had run out on the main road, straight in the path of the oncoming traffic.
The boy died about an hour later and was only identified three hours later by family who realised the harsh reality when his clothing was described to them.
Lawyers Kris Busietta, Jason Azzopardi and Julian Farrugia were counsel to the appellant.