Truck ran over victim of fatal workplace accident several times before driver realised he had hit him

The court hears how the elderly victim of a 2022 fatal workplace accident in Birzebbuga had been run over several times by the time his colleague, the driver, realised what was going on

The elderly victim of a 2022 fatal workplace accident in Birzebbuga had been run over several times by the time his colleague, the driver, realised what was going on.

This emerged from the testimony of court expert Dr. Mario Buttigieg, as the compilation of evidence against 35-year-old Davide Manunta, the truck driver accused of causing the death of his colleague Karmnu Micallef while manoeuvring on a narrow road in February 2022 continued before magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech this morning. 

Manunta is pleading not guilty to the involuntary homicide of Micallef, who died after sustaining extensive head injuries.

During the previous hearing, police Inspector Jonathan Cassar, who is prosecuting this case, had told the Court how police officers had found the large Leyland DAF truck at the scene, blocking the narrow road at a diagonal angle.

The two workers had been transporting planks to a construction site in the area but the truck was too wide for the narrow road, making it difficult for the driver to manoeuvre through it. Micallef had stepped out of the truck to help cover the driver’s blindspots, but while standing in front of the truck, he had been knocked over by the heavy vehicle and dragged beneath its wheels.

The expert told the Court that he had photographed the scene of the accident. Some of the victim's personal belongings had also been handed over to him, he said. Answering a question from lawyer Franco Galea, who is appearing as parte civile  for the victim's family, the court expert said that the road was too narrow for a long vehicle like the truck in question to turn around. In fact, part of the truck was found protruding out of the road, over a field. 

He explained that the victim had been crushed by the truck’s left wheel and had been run over several times before the driver had noticed him.

Dr. Buttigieg said that he had spoken to several people at the scene, the accused among them, adding that he had informed Manuta of his legal right to remain silent. Buttigieg then handed over his reports to the investigation. 

Inspector Jonathan Cassar informed the Court that one of the pathologists who was to give his testimony on Tuesday morning is unwell because he is on work abroad.

The Inspector also informed the Court that another expert witness, an architect, was unable to attend due to other commitments. The magistrate forcefully made the point that court-related duties should be his first priority. "It’s not on that we bring people to court in vain, the accused included. This is all wasting time," she said,

To make matters worse, the magistrate was then informed that the architect in question had not even been officially notified. The court gave the inspector a dressing down, warning him that it will be taking action if such omissions are repeated. 

Towards the end of the hearing, parte civile lawyer Franco Galea asked about the accused’s employer, GP Borg, suggesting that his responsibility also had to be assessed.

This was met with objections from defence lawyers Franco Debono and Matthew Xuereb, with the Court pointing out that this was the prosecution’s case and not the parte civile’s. 

Lawyer Roberto Spiteri is also appearing as parte civile for the victim’s family. The case continues in March.