Baron Sant Cassia murder trial postponed for psychiatric report on alleged murderer

Two court-appointed psychiatrists will inform the court this week as to whether Carmelo Camilleri, accused of the murder of Baron Sant Cassia, is fit to stand trial

Castello Zammitello in the outskirts of Mġarr, where Baron Francis Sant Cassia was murdered in October 1988
Castello Zammitello in the outskirts of Mġarr, where Baron Francis Sant Cassia was murdered in October 1988

Two court-appointed psychiatrists are expected to inform the Criminal Court on Thursday as to whether 68-year-old Carmelo Camilleri, from Mosta, is fit to stand trial for the 1988 murder of Baron Frank Sant Cassia.

Camilleri, who had previously been diagnosed with an intellectual disability, was originally due to go on trial today, but a decision on whether or not to go ahead depends on the psychiatrists’ report.

Should the report conclude that Camilleri is fit for trial, then another date will be set for the trial to begin. 

Baron Sant Cassia was shot dead at point-blank range on the grounds of his house, Castello Zammitello, in Mġarr in 1988.

In 2006, 68-year-old Carmel Camilleri was charged with the wilful homicide of the baron, accused of carrying out the murder on the instructions of a third party.

He was arrested after the police had received information indicating Camilleri to have been the gunman while investigating another case in 2004.  Camilleri is supposed to have been paid a sum of money to carry out the assassination. 

He was 33 years old at the time of the murder, but a court-appointed psychiatrist had subsequently reported that Camilleri had an IQ of around 50 and a mental age of between nine and 12 years old.

Camilleri’s trial had originally been scheduled to begin in February this year, but had to be postponed after the defendant’s lawyers filed a request for a psychiatric evaluation, on the grounds that Camilleri was suffering from mental health problems. 

In court filings from January, lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Kris Busietta had highlighted the mental health of the accused, who they said could no longer communicate with them.

The subsequent evaluation by Dr. Joe Cassar, had recommended that Camilleri should be placed under observation at Mount Carmel Hospital for the next three months. The Court then adjourned the trial to Monday 24 April for psychiatrists to report on whether Camilleri is fit to stand trial.

In March, Camilleri’s family filed a judicial protest, asking for an explanation as to why the Attorney General is insisting on bringing a mentally disabled old man to trial, when the same Attorney General had issued orders not to prosecute Pilatus Bank officials, despite having a far better case for prosecution.

In addition to it being an unjust application of the absolute discretion granted to the AG by the Criminal Code, the refusal also constituted discriminatory treatment in breach of his fundamental human rights, the lawyers had argued.