Father accused of murdering son fit to stand trial, psychiatrist tells court

A court has ruled there is enough evidence to indict 68-year-old Salvu Dalli for murdering his son in Għaxaq after a psychiatrist testifies he is fit to stand trial

Antoine Dalli (left) and his father Salvatore Dalli
Antoine Dalli (left) and his father Salvatore Dalli

Salvu Dalli was in his right senses when he killed his son and is fit to stand trial, a court-appointed psychiatrist said. 

Psychiatrist George Debono told Magistrate Marseanne Farrugia on Wednesday that from his experience and from what Dalli told him during his examination, he could conclude that the man was in his right senses when he shot his son.

Dalli, 68, stands accused of shooting his son Antoine Dalli, 37, on 7 August at his Għaxaq home. The son sustained a single fatal shot to the stomach. 

Debono said that Dalli has been receiving treatment for depression and anxiety, probably owing to the difficult relationship he had with one of his sons. 

In previous sittings, the court heard how the father had filed several reports to the police claiming he was assaulted and threatened by his son and he even mentioned this with the psychiatrist.

“How his mental state was at that particular moment is difficult to say but from how he recounted the event, he was not crazy. He told me he was in bed when he heard how the son kick the front door in and heard him running up the stairs saying ‘I will kill you’. He was scared. He told me he never wanted to kill him after caring for him and his other two children for all their lives but he feared for his life,” Debono testified in court. 

Asked by the court whether Dalli was fit to stand trial, Debono replied in the affirmative. “He knew what he was doing and knew the consequences of his actions,” Debono said.

Despite objection from the prosecution and the parte civile lawyers, the court upheld a defence request for the court to appoint a doctor to examine their client physically. Dalli walks with the use of a walking stick. 

At the end of the sitting, the court ruled that there was enough evidence for Dalli to be indicted over his son’s murder. 

The case continues in October.

Police Inspector Roderick Attard is prosecuting. Lawyers Lennox Vella and Marisa Mifsud appeared for the accused. Lawyers Amadeus Cachia, Francesca Zarb appeared parte civile for the victim’s family.

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