Heavy machinery next to Miriam Pace's house was moved away during collapse, court told

Compilation of evidence against four men accused of involuntary homicide of Miriam Pace continues

The two-storey house in Hamrun collapsed, killing its occupant Miriam Pace
The two-storey house in Hamrun collapsed, killing its occupant Miriam Pace

Evidence showed that heavy machinery operating next door to a house which collapsed on its occupant in Hamrun had been moved as the building came down, a court heard.

 The compilation of evidence against architect Roderick Camilleri, site technical officer Anthony Mangion, contractor Ludwig Dimech and labourer Nicholas Spiteri who are charged with involuntary homicide of Miriam Pace in Hamrun continued this morning with two witnesses being heard.

First to testify today was a representative from Transport Malta, who testified about the owners of vehicles that were crushed by the debris of the collapsing building and the owners of the heavy machinery used.

The next witness was prosecuting inspector Matthew Galea, who gave general information about his involvement in the investigation and the interrogation of the suspects.

He had interrogated the two construction workers who had been on site at the time of the fatal incident.

One of these, Nicholas Spiteri, had been arraigned in court on charges of causing Pace’s death while the other, an Albanian man, was not charged. Both workers denied any machinery was being used near the building before its collapse, said the inspector.

The inspector testified how the case took a different turn when he interrogated architect Roderick Camilleri, who was later charged.

Camilleri had shown the police photographs which proved that the version given by the two workers was not truthful. In fact, during his interrogation, the architect had referred to photographs which showed that to the contrary of what the workers had claimed, the machinery used was very close to the wall of the now collapsed block and not at the other side of the site, as had been claimed.

This was leant more credence by the fact that these machines were both covered in dust when the truck they were found near did not have so much dust on it. There were also fresh tracks which showed that the machines had been moved.

When the inspector confronted the workers with this evidence, Nicholas Spiteri continued to deny that the machinery was being used at the time of the collapse. But the Albanian worker testified that Spiteri was using the excavator and had moved it away as soon as the building started to come down. The Albanian worker had confirmed with the inspector that Spiteri had warned him not to talk about what he had just seen.

This was confirmed during Inspector Galea’s cross-examination which started by lawyers Alfred Abela and Arthur Azzopardi who are appearing for architect Roderick Camilleri.

The case continues on September 9 at 10:30am.

Inspectors Robert Vella and Matthew Galea are prosecuting. Lawyers Arthur Azzopardi and Alfred Abela are appearing on behalf of the architects.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri are assisting Spiteri. Lawyers Michael Sciriha, Roberto Montalto, Lucio Sciriha and Franco Galea are counsel to Dimech.

The Pace family were represented by lawyers Joe Giglio and David Bonello. Lawyer Stefano Filletti is assisting other neighbours.

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