Man to be indicted for attempted murder in Marsa garage, after victim testifies

A court has declared sufficient grounds for the indictment of the man, accused of trying to kill a man by beating him with a metal bar

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

A court has declared sufficient grounds for the indictment of a Libyan man, who is accused of trying to kill a Syrian man by beating him with a metal bar.

The victim of the aggression, Abdelaziz Marzouk, said he had no idea as to the motive behind the assault, as he testified in the case against Khaled Eddali from Libya, who appeared in the dock before magistrate Joe Mifsud this morning.

The witness recounted how, at around 4am on Sunday 7 November, he had been sitting outside the Marsa garage which he shared with two other men, when Eddali arrived. They had gone inside, where the accused attacked him with a metre-long metal bar, hitting him in the head, arms and legs. “Then I went to hospital and spent 14 days asleep,” he said, adding that his mobile phone and around €60 in cash had also been stolen during the assault.

Attorney General prosecutor, lawyer Etienne Savona, asked the witness whether there had been any previous arguments with the accused. “Never,” said the man. “I don’t know why he did this to me. I have nothing to do with him.”

“During the attack, he told me ‘do you want me not to kill you right now? When the police come don’t tell them I hit you, say it was the other guy [Wadea al Maghrabi]’.” Asked how he knew al Maghrabi, he said he recognised him from the street.

A Somali and an Egyptian man had been in the garage with the victim, but they all ran away when the attack started, he said. Answering questions from the prosecution, he said the accused had already been in the large garage when he had arrived at 4am and was assaulted in the part of it where he would sleep.

No further words were exchanged during the incident, claimed the victim.

The witness had been living in the garage for about two months, whilst the accused had only started living there around a week before.  The Somali man was renting the large garage and he and the Egyptian, had rented a room inside it, he explained.

The Egyptian had been asleep and the Somali had been seated in the kitchen when the attack started. “When Khaled hit me, the Egyptian got up and ran out of the garage and the Somali had been in the kitchen. I fell to the ground and I don’t know what happened after that,” he said.

Lawyer Joseph P. Bonnici was defence counsel. He cross-examined the witness, suggesting that the other man was Libyan, not Egyptian. “He was Egyptian not Libyan,” insisted the witness.

He asked the name of the Somali man whom they also paid rent to. “I think Mohammed or Hamed or something like that,” recalled the witness. The Egyptian was called Eid, he said. The witness no longer lives at the garage, explained.

Asked how long he had been there before the attack started, he replied that he had been there for almost an hour, in his room.

“So you are saying that Khaled just walked up and started hitting you without you having spoken to him?” asked Bonnici. “Yes,” replied the witness. “I did nothing and he started hitting me. I think that Khaled thought that I had money on me.”

The lawyer suggested that the men were in business together selling drugs and that he had been given money to buy drugs, but the court stopped that line of questioning as it was potentially incriminating. Prosecuting Inspector Roderick Attard also objected, saying the cross-examination should be on the facts mentioned in the man’s testimony.

“Did you owe anyone any money?” pressed the lawyer. “No.” “Did you have any prior arguments or trouble with the accused?” “No.” Further cross-examination was reserved.

The next witness, Wadea al Maghrabi from Libya, was summoned to the witness stand. He was cautioned by the court that his testimony could incriminate him and that he had the right not to answer questions. Al Maghrabi testified nonetheless.

“I was not there when the incident happened. I found out about it when the police arrived at the garage in Marsa,” he said. The magistrate asked him what he had found in the garage. “A puddle of blood,” was the reply.

Asked whether anyone had spoken to him about the case, he said that his Maltese neighbours had spoken to him about the incident.

Al Magharbi said he lived with a Moroccan, the previous witness and Khaled, the accused. He had just left prison, having been sent there by Magistrate Mifsud, the court heard.

The witness said that he had seen Khaled before he left the garage, adding that he had appeared normal and wasn’t upset about anyone. Al Magharbi had left the garage at 9pm and returned at 7am, he said.

The first time he had seen the alleged victim was in court, he claimed.

Cross-examined by the defence, he said he left Khaled and the Somali in the garage when he left. He hadn’t seen the parte civile there at the time.

After hearing the witnesses, the presiding magistrate decreed that there were prima facie grounds for indictment.

The case continues in January.