Man accused of running over ex-girlfriend's new partner

A man from Fgura has been remanded in custody after being charged with intentionally running over and grievously injuring his ex-girlfriend’s new partner

A man from Fgura has been remanded in custody after being charged with intentionally running over and grievously injuring his ex-girlfriend’s new partner.

Before Magistrate Nadine Lia this morning, 38-year-old bar owner Clayton Galea was accused of grievously injuring the man, dangerous driving and breaching bail.

Inspector Janetta Grixti charged Galea over the incident which happened late at night on 22 November in Zejtun, when the victim was run over by a BMW X6 allegedly driven by the accused.

The magistrate asked whether there was a backstory to this incident.  Lawyer Leontine Calleja, appearing parte civile for the victim, said there was.

“The incident took place outside the ex-partner’s house where he ran over the present partner of his ex-girlfriend, with his car, who suffered fractures and has been admitted to hospital. There is a fear that he will approach the victim again…They are living in fear of him. She is scared to give her child to the man for parental access.”

But Azzopardi said the woman had later agreed to hand over the children outside the police station. He said the accused would not be approaching the victims, who live in another town where he has no business going.

Magistrate Lia, however, observed that there were witnesses yet to testify and that the incident had taken place outside the residence of one of the witnesses, who had declared that they were afraid of the accused.

Despite noting that the accused had always observed his bail conditions and obeyed police orders, also being allowed to travel abroad, the court said that there was still a real fear of the accused absconding and therefore refused bail at this stage.

There was disagreement on the legality of the man’s arrest, however, with his lawyer Arthur Azzopardi asking the court to declare it invalid after the prosecuting officer explained that Galea had been arrested after he went to sign a bail book, in accordance with his bail conditions, and was then ordered by the police to go to the Zejtun police station.

Section 355AD of the criminal code, quoted by the prosecution, deals with a voluntary appearance of the accused at a police station. But in this case, had he not attended, he would have been charged with disobeying police orders, argued Azzopardi. “On Saturday he went to comply with his bail conditions in the morning but he was then ordered to go to the Zejtun police station. You aren’t free in that case.”

Inspector Grixti argued that the man had not been ordered to go to Zejtun, but had only been instructed to.

The court, after hearing submissions on this point and after consulting with the law, declared the arrest to be valid.

A not guilty plea was entered on behalf of the accused. Azzopardi requested bail for his client.

This was objected to by the prosecution, who argued that the ex-girlfriend and her new partner had not testified yet and could be approached by the accused should he be released.

“Even when given an illegal order by the police, he obeyed and went to the station as instructed,” Azzopardi argued, pointing out that there was no magisterial inquiry into the incident and that the police had spent a week waiting to arrest him. “It is almost obscene to object to bail in these circumstances,” said the lawyer.

The court solicited the prosecution to summon its civilian witnesses, including the victim at the first sitting after the case was assigned to another magistrate.

Lawyers Arthur Azzopardi and Charmaine Cherrett appeared for the accused.