Lawyer urges maximum punishment for Mintoff Bland ex-boyfriend

Violence not acceptable response to terminated relationship

“No person who chooses to terminate a relationship should end up being attacked with a knife” stressed parte civile lawyer Joseph Giglio when making final arguments in the criminal proceedings against the man who wreaked havoc in the life of Yana Mintoff Bland after she decided to break off their relationship.

Ms Mintoff Bland. Photo: Chris Sant FournierMs Mintoff Bland. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

The now-bearded Gheorghe Popa, 40, the former Romanian partner of Ms Mintoff Bland, sat in the dock alongside an interpreter, while members of the Mintoff family sat at the back of the courtroom, attentively following today's sitting.

READ: 'I was facing death', Mintoff Bland tells court

Summing up the possible motive behind the accused's actions on that fateful night in October 24, 2016 inside the Mintoff residence at Tarxien, Dr Giglio explained how an argument between the couple had allegedly broken out, fuelled by the man’s suspicions.

Ms Mintoff had decided to terminate her relationship with Mr Popa, something he refused to accept.

The row soon escalated into violence against Ms Mintoff and her son, Daniel Mainwaring, who had rushed to her assistance.

“Such reactions are not acceptable in our society,” the lawyer stressed.

Throughout the proceedings, various witnesses testified about having heard shouting from Ms Mintoff’s residence on the night of the alleged incident.

Forensic evidence showed that she had been assaulted with a knife, halfway down the stairs on a landing while carrying a suitcase filled with Mr Popa’s hurriedly-packed clothes.

Had it not been for this suitcase and for her son's timely intervention, the events of that night could possibly have resulted in far more tragic circumstances, Dr Giglio pointed out.

The mother and son fled the scene and the alleged aggressor had gone up to the roof, as evidenced by traces of blood along the way, but not before having set fire to the house, the court was told.

Forensic evidence showed that the fire was intentional and fingers pointed in the direction of the accused since he was the only person inside the house at the time, the lawyer continued.

Although there was forensic evidence indicating possible self-inflicted puncture wounds – a sign of emotional problems – the man showed no remorse for his alleged aggression upon Ms Mintoff Bland, the lawyer went on, urging the court to impose the maximum punishment applicable in this case.

Defence counsel Benjamin Valenzia is to submit written within one month of today's sitting. The court, presided over by Magistrate Joseph Mifsud, is expected to pass judgment in December.

Inspector Spiridione Zammit prosecuted and lawyer Benjamin Valenzia was defence counsel.