Gaffarena murder: Mqabba shooting victim readmitted to hospital

Vince Gaffarena, who was wounded in the fatal shooting of Saviour Gaffarena, does not testify after getting admitted to hospital

Victims Saviour Gaffarena (left) and Vince Gaffarena (right)
Victims Saviour Gaffarena (left) and Vince Gaffarena (right)

Vince Gaffarena, who was wounded in the fatal shooting of Saviour Gaffarena in Mqabba last July, did not testify as expected today in the compilation of evidence against two youths accused of the murder, because he was re-admitted to hospital.

17-year-old Vince Gaffarena was shot in the face in the July 29 incident, but survived. His cousin Saviour, 27, died at the scene.

Owen Schembri and Leon Debono, both 18, are charged with murder and attempted murder.

Magistrate Nadine Lia was told this morning that Vince Gaffarena had to return to hospital for what appeared to be a long stay and would not be able to testify today. It is hoped that he will instead testify in the next sitting on 5th November.

In the light of this, Schembri’s lawyer Arthur Azzopardi informed the court that he would not be making a request for bail until after Gaffarena testified.

Leon Debono and Owen Schembri, both from Ħal-Kirkop, stand accused of the murder of 27-year-old Saviour Gaffarena and the attempted murder of Vince Gaffarena, 17.

Schembri’s lawyers Arthur Azzopardi and Alfred Abela contend that their client had consistently told the police that it was Leon Debono who fired the shots. On the other hand, Leon Debono’s counsel, lawyer Giannella Demarco is arguing that the police’s allegations are simply hearsay evidence and insufficient to secure a conviction.

Both accused had protested their innocence since being arrested in July.

The Gaffarenas had been found with gunshot wounds in a car in Triq il-Konvoj ta’ Santa Marija, Mqabba late at night on July 29. It is understood that motive for the shootings is believed to be related to drug trafficking.

Inspectors Keith Arnaud and Kurt Zahra are prosecuting. Lawyers Mark Refalo and James D’Agostino are appearing on behalf of the victims.

READ ALSO: Saviour Gaffarena and cousin Vince are victims of Mqabba drive-by shooting, two arrested

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