Paola man, 66, denies shooting neighbour in the face in New Year's Eve incident

Man charged with shooting the owner of a neighbouring field in the face with a shotgun on New Year’s Eve

A 66-year-old man was remanded in custody yesterday evening after he was charged with shooting the owner of a neighbouring field in the face with a shotgun on New Year’s Eve.

Martin Delia, a pensioner from Paola, was arraigned before magistrate Astrid May Grima just after 8pm on Monday, accused of attempted murder and destruction of evidence, amongst other offences.

Police say Delia had fired at the owner of a field adjacent to his from a distance of 5 metres, before destroying potentially incriminating CCTV footage.

The court was told how Delia had been arrested not long after the shooting, which occurred on Saturday morning. 

A 30-year-old man from Paola, was initially arrested but later released without charge. 

Delia pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include attempted homicide, grievous bodily harm, carrying a weapon during the commission of a crime against a person, carrying a weapon without a police permit and tampering with evidence. 

Defence lawyer Jose Herrera, representing the accused together with lawyers Arthur Azzopardi, Jacob Magri, Matthew Xuereb and Daniel Attard, requested bail on account of Delia’s relatively clean criminal record and poor health. Delia is suffering from terminal kidney disease, is on dialysis and is losing his eyesight, argued the lawyers.

Prosecuting lawyer Kylie Bonnett from the Attorney General’s Office argued against bail, in view of the serious nature of the charges and the fact that the victim was Delia’s neighbour and had identified him to the police. 

The request for bail was rejected due to the grave nature of the offence as well as the fact that civilian witnesses have yet to testify. The court ordered the prisons director ensure that Delia received the medical treatment he needed.

The prosecution was led by inspectors Wayne Camilleri and Antonello Magri together with AG lawyers Nathaniel Falzon and Kaylie Bonnett.

Lawyer Franco Debono represented the victim as parte civile.