Gozo boatman cleared over death of swimmer at Hondoq ir-Rummien

A man from Gozo has been cleared of the involuntary homicide of a British swimmer at Hondoq ir-Rummien who died after being struck by a dinghy’s propeller whilst underwater

Stanley died after being hit by the propeller of an outboard motor attached to a dinghy being manoeuvred by Matthew Grech
Stanley died after being hit by the propeller of an outboard motor attached to a dinghy being manoeuvred by Matthew Grech

A man from Gozo has been cleared of the involuntary homicide of a British swimmer at Hondoq ir-Rummien who died after being struck by a dinghy’s propeller whilst underwater.

23-year-old Matthew Grech from Nadur was found not guilty by magistrate Joe Mifsud, who adjudged Grech as not being at fault in the incident, which occurred outside the swimming zone of the popular bay.

The fatal incident took place on 19 June 2016. Police were informed that a 64-year-old man was taken to hospital by ambulance and died after a collision with a boat whilst swimming. The victim was later identified as Qala resident Allan Michael Stanley, from Wales.

Inspector Bernard Charles Spiteri prosecuted.

Stanley died after being hit by the propeller of an outboard motor attached to a dinghy being manoeuvred by Matthew Grech.

A crucial witness, in this case, was the victim’s widow, Diane, who told the court that her late husband would swim on the left-hand side of the bay, near the rocks. He would do this despite her repeatedly pointing out to him that he should not swim so far from shore and that he was outside of the swimming zone.

On the day of the fatal encounter, Stanley had been swimming even further out to sea than usual.

This was corroborated by other witnesses, who added that the man would not use marker buoys to alert passing boats to his position underwater.

An eyewitness who had been passing on a kayak had testified to seeing the victim diving without buoys or a wetsuit, some 100 metres away from the concrete platform and 30 metres from the nearest shoreline. The kayakers had barely seen the elderly man, and when they had signalled to him, he had not seen them and continued to swim towards Hondoq ir-Rummien.

Grech was cleared of the involuntary homicide charge. He was also cleared of lying under oath after the court noted that this claim was not supported by the evidence.

Lawyers Joe Giglio and Richard Sladden defended Grech.

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