Man on bail for his part in Eleanor Mangion Walker murder, charged with domestic violence

A man accused of helping hide the body of a murdered domestic violence victim in 2016 has been remanded in custody on domestic violence charges of his own

A man accused of helping hide the body of a murdered domestic violence victim in 2016 has been remanded in custody on domestic violence charges of his own.

Kristijan Zekic, also known as Adamjohn Niasov, was charged this afternoon with causing his partner to fear violence, keeping a firearm without a licence, and breaching no less than five bail decrees.

One of the offences Zekic is on bail for is for allegedly hiding the body of murder victim Eleanor Mangion Walker in 2017.

Zekic was arrested on 10 February at his flat in St. Paul’s Bay.

Before magistrate Victor Axiaq today, defence lawyer Ezekiel Psaila entered a not guilty plea and requested bail.

Inspector Godwin Scerri, prosecuting, objected to bail. The prosecution said it believed that case was a very serious one and that the alleged victim had a right to give her evidence first. Moreover, the accused had been charged on five different occasions and given bail, Scerri said. Police investigations had recovered items from inside the man’s residence which led the police to believe that bail had been breached, said the inspector. In addition to all this, the couple lived at the same address and so there would be contact if bail was granted, he said.

Psaila delivered a strong argument for bail, saying that with regards to the man’s previous alleged breaches of bail, no judgment had been delivered in those cases and so no offence had been committed. “This shows that he has consistently held with his bail requirements,” submitted the lawyer, adding that the man stood to lose a total of some €80,000 in bail bonds. He argued that there were procedures, such as protection orders, which could assist with the prosecution’s concerns.

“The Istanbul Convention does not provide the protracted detention of the accused for the safety of the victim,” Psaila said. He pointed out that the prosecution had not mentioned any fear of tampering of evidence. “Whilst they found certain evidence, it can also be tampered by the victim who reported it. He said he had never seen the pistol, which was found in the woman’s bedroom,” argued the lawyer.

Scholarly legal sources stated that unless there is objective evidence which could be tampered with by the accused, then the magistrate had to rest on the Constitution and not what they believe is the conclusion of the investigation, he said.

“Yes he has five bails, but none of them have been proven.”

Scerri replied that domestic violence cases are very serious by nature and that the accused lived with his alleged victim. “Should she move out?”, he asked. Psaila replied that the prosecution was trying to shift the onus of proof onto the accused to prove his innocence, instead of the prosecution proving his guilt.

The court, having heard the submissions on bail, rejected the defence’s request as it had “serious reservations” on the trustworthiness of the accused. The magistrate urged the prosecution to bring all civilian witnesses in next sitting.

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