Spilled olives that led to motorcyclist's death were danger to all road traffic

Couple driving behind olive truck tipped off police after they had seen olive boxes fall off onto the road

The olives which had spilled onto the road out of a truck driven by the man accused of causing a fatal motorcycle crash were a danger to all road traffic passing through the area, a court has been told.

Inspector Roderick Attard testified today as the involuntary homicide case against 79-year-old Joseph Cortis from Dingli continued before Magistrate Marseanne Farrugia. 

Cortis is accused of having negligently caused the spillage which led to the death of  Marie Claire Lombardi, 45 on 22 October 2022. 

Lombardi, a hairdresser, died at the scene after her Yamaha motorcycle skidded and crashed into a centre strip on Mdina Road in Rabat.

Inspector Attard told the court that the spilled olives, which had been crushed by passing traffic, had formed an oil slick which had posed a danger to all motorists.

The Inspector testified that as a result of the skid and subsequent crash, Lombardi had suffered a dislocated arm, as well as injuries, to her chin and her lower body.

He said that the investigation had zeroed in on Cortis after a couple who had been driving behind Cortis’ van had seen boxes with olives falling out of it. The driver had provided the police with a sketch of a sticker that he had seen on the light blue van that the accused was driving.

Defence lawyer Patrick Valentino suggested to the inspector that the driver had not told the police that he had seen a box fall out of the van but only that he had seen the olives on the road. Inspector Attard rejected this assertion, pointing out that Bartolo's wife had also told the police that her husband had described seeing a crate falling out of a van and that several other witnesses had given a similar account.