Motorist cleared of bribing official for driving licence

A motorist has been cleared of bribing a public official in a bid to obtain a driving licence without sitting for the test

A motorist has been cleared of bribing a public official in a bid to obtain a driving licence without sitting for the test.  

Joseph Attard, 42, was declared not guilty by Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit of bribing Francis Catania between 2006 and 2008 and complicity in the crime.

A number of people had been charged, including Catania, but had not been found guilty.

Prosecuting police inspector Antonovich Muscat and other witnesses had confirmed that no records were found at Transport Malta to confirm that Attard had ever sat for his driving test.

The court said that there were allegations that some driving licences had been found to be illegally obtained and that the prosecution had argued that the accused had obtained his by approaching Catania, a Transport Malta employee.

But from the evidence provided, nothing pointed to Catania’s involvement, observed the court.

The accused had released a statement in which he denied being paying or being asked for payment by Catania.

The court ruled that neither had the act of bribery been proved by the prosecution as having taken place in any other manner.

The prosecution’s star witness, Catania, had testified to knowing Joseph Attard but had said that all Attard did was process the renewal of his licence and a change of address. The accused had paid the fees due for the renewal, not to Catania, but to ADT.

The court said that besides the accused’s statement, all the evidence consisted of “sporadic factors” with no legal basis, which certainly did not conclude that there had been an exchange of money or favours between the accused and Catania.

Therefore, the magistrate ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Attard was cleared of all charges.

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