Arson suspect Aaron Cassar cleared of injuring alleged Marsa murderer Deniro Magri

Cassar had been charged with injuring Magri in a crime that took place in Valletta in 2018, but is now being cleared of the charge

The man accused of breaking Deniro Magri’s ankle in a fight after a court hearing has been cleared of all charges after a court declared that he was acting in self-defence.

Aaron Cassar, 39 from Birzebbugia had been charged with having injured Deniro Magri without the intention of killing him or putting his life in serious danger, in a crime which allegedly happened on 8 January 2018 in Republic Street, Valletta.

Magistrate Joseph Mifsud had cleared Magri of causing slight injury to Cassar in July that year in another case concerning the same incident.

In separate proceedings, Magri is indicted for the murder of 25-year-old Sylvester Farrugia who was shot dead in Marsa in February 2017, after Farrugia attempted to burn down Magri’s home. He is pleading self-defense to the murder charge. Cassar is charged with having been an accomplice in the arson attack.

Magistrate Audrey Demicoli heard how the incident took place in Republic Street before Magri had gone for a court sitting in the murder case. Magri had been accompanied by his sister and girlfriend.

In a short judgment, Magistrate Audrey Demicoli observed that there was no evidence that Aaron Cassar had initiated the fight, rather CCTV showed that it had been Magri who had thrown the first punch. The footage also showed that Magri had gone up to the accused and not vice-versa.

With regards to the injuries suffered by Magri, the court noted that no evidence was exhibited to support the allegation of facial injuries and that Magri himself had said that he had no idea as to how he ended up with a broken ankle. A court appointed medical expert established that the fracture could have been a result of twisting the ankle. His injuries were classified as slight.

The accused had released a statement to the police explaining that after Magri had punched him several times in the back of the head, the two men had ended up grappling on the ground. Magri had gouged Cassar in the eyes, the court was told. Cassar had denied breaking Magri’s leg, insisting that it had been broken when Magri had fallen on the ground.

Having heard both men’s versions of events, the court said it found Cassar’s to be the most convincing.

The charge of grievous bodily harm therefore could not stand, said the court. With it, the rest of the case against Cassar collapsed in turn: there was no breach of bail as no guilt was found on the first charge, and neither had he disturbed the peace, as there was no evidence that this had caused third parties to become concerned for their safety. Once the accused was cleared of the other charges against him, the offence of recidivism could not subsist either, said the magistrate.

Inspectors Keith Arnaud and Jeffrey Scicluna prosecuted.

Lawyer Arthur Azzopardi was defence counsel.

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