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Witnesses fail to agree as they testify in road fatality case

Witnesses in a case against a police officer charged with causing the death of a motorcyclist once again conflicting evidence while testifying today. 

Jean-Claude Mangion, 21 from Qrendi, stands charged with causing the death of Clive Brincat, 32 from Floriana, through negligence, damaging the motorcycle, driving his Peugeot 206 negligently and dangerously, speeding and committing a crime he was duty-bound to prevent. The accident happened in January 2014. 

Previous witnesses could not seem to agree on the road surface's conditions that particular day, and the witnesses who took the stand today were similarly unsure. 

Several motorists and residents took to the witness stand before Magistrate Doreen Clarke this morning. A jogger from Qrendi explained that he had been running towards Mqabba when he heard the long screech of brakes.

He looked up to see a car against the wall, facing the opposite direction of traffic and a man on the ground.

“The policeman at the scene could barely speak,” recalled the witness. He had remained at the scene until the police arrived and took his statement. He could not recall the weather or state of the road surface.

But one Mqabba resident appeared to have no doubt, starting off his testimony by saying that he distinctly recalled the road being wet.

He had been driving before being motioned to by a man at a bus stop, who advised him to slow down, explaining that an accident had taken place further up the road.

When he reached the area, the accused approached his vehicle and asked him for his mobile phone. He had been in a highly emotional state, the witness recalled. A call to emergency number 112 was made and his phone was returned. He had tried to make a report at the police station but it was closed.

During a sitting in March, Rapid Intervention Unit officer Adrian McKay had testified that the road had been very wet with early morning dew.

However, former journalist Julia Farrugia Portelli – who had stumbled across the incident on her way to work – said that it had not been raining, telling the court emphatically that there was no dew on the ground as she recalled kneeling down beside the victim to try and give him first aid.

The case continues. Inspector Johann Fenech is prosecuting. Lawyer Robert Abela is defending the accused while Michael Sciriha is appearing parte civile for the Brincat family.

 

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