Acquitted of injuring brother-in-law in family dispute

A visit to the in-laws in January 2013 turned violent

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

A man was today acquitted of injuring his brother-in-law in an argument that broke out inside the family home in Siġġiewi four years ago following a long-standing feud which eventually culminated in a violent scene.

Christian Cardona, 28, was charged with having slightly injured his brother-in-law George Falzon, with having been in possession of a firearm and an unlicensed pointed instrument as well as with having breached the public peace and good order. The more serious charge of attempted homicide was dropped by the prosecution upon the advice of the Attorney General.

The court, presided by magistrate Josette Demicoli, heard how one evening in January 2013 Mr Falzon and his wife, the accused's sister, went to pay a visit to the in-laws in their farmhouse in Siġġiewi. The couple's newborn son was with them at the time.

An argument broke out between Mr Falzon and his father-in-law, Joseph Cardona, and as the situation reportedly escalated, the accused entered the fray.

Mr Falzon had testified that his brother-in-law, armed with a large knife, had chased him to the car outside and had slashed his fingers as he sought to take refuge inside the vehicle. His father-in-law had also allegedly tried to restrain him as the accused attempted to strike at him.

As the couple and their baby fled the scene, the accused had fired some seven shots in the direction of the moving vehicle, Mr Falzon had further recalled in court.

The court heard how later that same evening at around 11.30pm, Mr Cardona had voluntarily turned up at a police station, bearing various signs of physical violence as attested by a medical certificate which he handed over to the police before releasing his statement under arrest.

The court observed that the accused had suffered various scratches to his upper body, a swollen knee and had his hand placed in a cast.

On the other hand, a police search conducted at the scene of the crime later that same evening and also the following day, had yielded neither weapons and nor cartridges. Moreover, it was observed that gunshot residue tests on the accused had yielded no positive results.

The car driven by the alleged victim contained no signs of gunshots or other marks compatible with the physical violence claimed to have been inflicted by the accused when he slammed his fist against the windows and metalwork.

The court noted that the version of the incident given by Mr Cardona and his father conflicted with that supplied by Mr Falzon. On the basis of the evidence put forward, the court concluded that Mr Cardona was more credible.

The court concluded that all the evidence pointed to the fact that Mr Falzon had indeed instigated the violent episode on account of 'a long-standing family dispute.' The court was not morally convinced that the injuries suffered by Mr Falzon had actually been inflicted by his brother in law, the accused.

The court therefore acquitted Mr Cardona of all the charges related to the violent episode.

Inspector Kylie Borg prosecuted. Lawyer Joseph Giglio was defence counsel.