Jeremie Camilleri's mother refuses to testify against son

Moving slowly and answering with a noticeable delay, the woman confirmed the defendant is her son. When asked whether she was willing to give evidence against him, said she did not wish to. 

Jeremie Camilleri
Jeremie Camilleri

The mother of a man accused of murder after intentionally running over a young woman in Gzira last January has exercised her right not to testify against him in court.

The compilation of evidence against 33-year-old French-Algerian Lija resident Jeremie Camilleri, who is accused of the wilful homicide of 30-year-old Pelin Kaya from Turkey, continued before magistrate Rachel Montebello on Thursday.

Camilleri had been behind the wheel of his mother’s BMW X5 when he ran over 30-year-old Pelin Kaya, while she was walking on Testaferrata Street in Gżira at 1:00am on 18 January 2023.  During his arraignment, the court was told that this was "not a simple traffic accident but wilful homicide."

The defendant’s mother, Clarisse Camilleri was one of the witnesses called to the stand today. Moving slowly and answering with a noticeable delay, the woman confirmed the defendant is her son. When asked whether she was willing to give evidence against him, said she did not wish to. Being related to the defendant in the first degree, the woman is a “competent but not compellable witness” at law, which means that she can legally opt not to testify in this case.

Police Inspector Shamus Woods took the witness stand to exhibit photographs he had taken of the injuries suffered by bystander Fiona Brincat, who had reported the incident to the Msida police station. Brincat did not turn up to testify today, the second consecutive sitting in which she has done so. The court fined Brincat €75 for contempt and ordered that she be escorted to the next sitting by the police.

Dr Safraz Ali who, together with Dr. David Pisani,  had been appointed by the inquiry to carry out the post-mortem examination of the victim testified next. He had examined Kaya’s remains on January 18, he said and determined the cause of death to be “complete traumatic aortic transection” - a shearing of one of Pelin’s major blood vessels - and traumatic brain injury as a result of skull fractures caused by blunt force. Dr. Pisani also testified to confirm the results.

Two Scene of Crime Officers: a police sergeant and a civilian officer testified together, next. They had arrived at the scene at 3:00am and noted scratches on the pavement, fuel, debris, rocks and bricks and blood on the ground, as well as the BMW embedded in the facade of the Gzira KFC restaurant. The witnesses had also documented the autopsy photographically and swabbed Camilleri. 

Today’s sixth witness was a court expert who had carried out toxicology tests on samples of blood and urine taken from Camilleri. His analysis of these samples resulted positive for cocaine, cannabis and their metabolites. No alcohol metabolites were detected. Blood tests also confirmed the presence of anti-anxiety medication lorazepam and other medicines. 
A court-appointed DNA expert testified last, presenting the court with her report and analysis and returning the exhibits she had tested. 
She told the court that the exhibits consistently returned a genetic profile of the same woman. One of the exhibits, a rock, had another woman’s genetic profile on it. Swabs taken from the interior door, steering wheel and airbag of the BMW, matched Camilleri’s genetic profile, she said.

Lawyer Alfred Abela, defence counsel together with Rene Darmanin, informed the court that the court-appointed psychiatrist had not yet spoken to his client, despite having been ordered to do so by the court on 27 March. The court urged the expert in question to complete this task without delay and before the next sitting.

The compilation of evidence was adjourned to June.

Lawyers Kayleigh Bonnett and Nathaniel Falzon from the Attorney General’s office are prosecuting, together with Police Inspector Kurt Zahra.
Lawyers Rene’ Darmanin and Alfred Abela are defence counsel.
Lawyer Shazoo Ghaznavi is appearing for the victim's family, together with lawyers Charlon Gouder and Ramona Attard.