Updated | As boy racer Liam Debono gets Xarabank stage, cop’s lawyers demand unedited interview as evidence

Underage driver accused of attempted murder of PC Simon Schembri will be on Xarabank on Friday evening • Schembri's lawyers want unedited interview to be presented as evidence

Liam Debono taken under police custody to be arraigned for the attempted murder of PC Simon Schembri
Liam Debono taken under police custody to be arraigned for the attempted murder of PC Simon Schembri

Liam Debono, the young man accused of the attempted murder of police constable Simon Schembri in a harrowing hit-and-run incident, will be featured in a controversial broadcast of Friday night chat-show Xarabank on national station TVM this evening.

Liam Debono, 19, is accused of running over Schembri and dragging him for several metres, causing him serious injuries and a 66% permanent disability.

Xarabank has already aired an interview with the mother and grandmother of Debono, whose case attracted national notoriety after Schembri lost his arm in the incident, and police officers marched in Valletta in solidarity.

The recorded interview is expected to generate much debate due to its tendency to give equal footing to controversial characters in its tone-deaf approach to impartiality. Schembri's lawyers have filed a judicial protest in the court of Magistrate Joe Mifsud complaining that the show is a publicity exercise that smacks of bad taste, and have requested equal airtime and that the unedited interview footage be presented as evidence.

Debono is claiming a breach of fair trial after the President of the Republic marched with the police, with his lawyer Franco Debono arguing that because of the moral authority which the office she occupies has, she can easily create “irredeemable prejudice” towards Debono since it could shape public opinion.

READ MORE • Mother gave Liam Debono cannabis at 9 ‘to keep him quiet’, court told

PC Simon Schembri emerging from court with his legal team
PC Simon Schembri emerging from court with his legal team

 

Liam Debono is expected to state his case in tonight's Xarabank edition, to defend his difficult upbringing and drug problems. His lawyer has already stated that his case “could be an indication of a particular failure of the educational and social system, in the context that [Liam Debono’s] family nucleus did not sustain him adequately.”

Witnesses have already testified about additional drugs charges made against the underage driver. Two crushers and other drugs, paraphernalia, along with three bags of cannabis grass were found in the accused’s possession after Debono had been driving a Maruti jeep with an expired licence and insurance and a different car’s licence plates.  The case continues on October 29.

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