Roderick Grech murder trial: victim was clinically dead upon arrival at hospital

Murder victim Roderick Grech was dead on arrival at hospital but was briefly revived, only to succumb to his wounds, jury hears

Roderick Grech (pictured) was clinically dead on arrival at Mater Dei, jurors heard as the trial of Etienne Bartolo, the man accusing of murdering him, continued in court on Saturday
Roderick Grech (pictured) was clinically dead on arrival at Mater Dei, jurors heard as the trial of Etienne Bartolo, the man accusing of murdering him, continued in court on Saturday

Roderick Grech suffered stab wounds to the neck, chest and right hand and was clinically dead upon his arrival at the Mater Dei emergency department, but had been revived for a time before succumbing to his wounds, a jury has heard.

Two emergency doctors testified on Saturday morning as the trial by jury of Etienne Bartolo entered its fourth day. The first, Rebecca Galea explained to jurors how Grech had been admitted at around 3am on March 29, 2017. He showed no signs of life at the time but was given CPR and revived, before being transferred to intensive care.

Bartolo was found to be suffering from stab wounds to his neck, the right side of his chest and his right hand.

Bartolo, 39, is accused of having fatally stabbed Grech, 26, in a Birkirkara street in 2017. On Friday the jury heard how Bartolo had been involved in an argument with the victim over drug payments. The accused had told the police that he was scared of Grech.

Dr Rebecca Galea testified that Grech was not breathing and had no heartbeat when he was admitted, but immediate CPR had restarted his heart.

He was then transferred to the ITU, she said, and out of her care.

Dr Thomas Armatis, who was also working at the emergency department that night said he had received a call about a man having been stabbed in the chest. The patient was in cardiac arrest and not breathing at the time he first saw him. After reviving the patient, he had relieved the pressure in the man’s chest and drained the blood from his lungs, before sending him for a CT scan and afterwards to the ITU, as the patient was in a critical condition.

Also testifying today was court IT expert Dr. Martin Bajada. Bajada, who told the jurors that he had been working in the IT sector for over 20 years, had been engaged in 2018 during the compilation of evidence to examine the mobile phones exhibited in the acts of the case.

He had examined a Nokia, a Samsung and an LG. The accused’s mobile is the LG. The Nokia and Samsung were found at the scene. Bajada said, however, that the phones’ SIM cards were switched into different devices, creating confusion. There appears to have been a great deal of interaction between the phones, creating a tangled web of communications which the expert had to painstakingly unpick to obtain workable information.

From his findings, it emerged that one of the devices had contained a number saved as “China” and others saved as “Cinis2,” and “Raymond.” Jordan Azzopardi’s number was also found in the device’s phonebook.

The jury continues on Monday.

Madam Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera is presiding the trial. Lawyers Kevin Valletta and Maria Francesca Spiteri from the Office of the Attorney General are prosecuting.

Lawyers Edward Gatt and Mark Vassallo are defence counsel.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia are appearing parte civile for the victim's family.

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