Mangion Walker murder: Andrew Mangion refuses to testify against alleged helper

Updated 5pm

A man charged with helping to hide the lifeless body of Eleanor Mangion Walker in a warehouse in Qormi appeared in court today as criminal proceedings against Ms Mangion Walker's estranged husband continued.

Kristyan Zekic stands accused of helping Andrew Mangion, the prime murder suspect, to hide the victim's body. He appeared in court unassisted after his lawyer was called to appear before the courts in Gozo. Mr Zekic was also accused of breaching bail conditions granted in relation to a separate arraignment.

The court, presided by magistrate Ian Farrugia, heard the testimony of forensic experts Marie Therese Camilleri and Safraz Ali who presented their report on the autopsy carried out after the murder.

It was stated that the victim had suffered intracranial haemorrhage as a result of fractures to the skull and lacerations of the brain. When questioned, Dr Camilleri confirmed that the brain tissue had been torn by a blunt trauma.

When called to the witness stand, Mr Mangion, the victim's alleged murderer, appeared reluctant to testify and stated that he would do so depending on the nature of the questioning.

The magistrate pointed out that he could not advise the witness who had a right to remain silent. "I'm here to protect rights and act according to law," the magistrate remarked. 

Mr Mangion subsequently refused to take the stand. 

Ryan Spagnol, a representative of the Expatriates Unit at Identity Malta, testified that the accused had applied for a residence permit which was, however, denied when the office discovered that the man's Slovenian ID card had been impounded by the court during criminal proceedings. The witness stated that if a new document were to be issued, the accused could travel freely within the EU and possibly escape justice.

A heated debate arose between the prosecution and the defence team regarding the relevance of the witnesses called by the former. It was argued that the evidence, while relevant to the proceedings against Mr Mangion, had no relevance to their client's case.

It was pointed out by the defence that the accused, who faced a possible maximum jail term of one year, had already been in police custody for six months. This was a delaying tactic, the defence heatedly argued.

When the atmosphere in the courtroom had settled down once again, the next witness called to testify was Josephine Walker, the victim's mother. However, upon approaching the witness stand, the prosecution declared that it was renouncing to her evidence. The magistrate apologised to the witness for any inconvenience caused.

Another witness, Grezzju Micallef, was also informed that he would not be testifying today apologised to the court.

The case continues.

Inspector Keith Arnaud prosecuted. Lawyers Giannella DeMarco and Stephen Tonna Lowell are defence counsel.