Time-barred traffic breaches exonerate accused

Magistrate says charges against man for breaching traffic regulations, injuring another man and damaging private property, are now time-barred

The Criminal court presided by Magistrate Miriam Hayman declared extinguished a case seeing a man charged with dangerous driving and injuring a passer-by, after the defence claimed the case was time barred.

The case was against Daniel Victor Bonnici, who on  23 August 1998, at around 6:30am, was driving a motorbike in Triq in-Nutar Zarb, Attard. The driver was involved in a traffic accident in which passer-by Alan Caruana suffered grievous injuries. An electrical pole belonging to Enemalta was also damaged.

Bonnici was charged with dangerous driving, excessive speeding, grievously injuring Alan Caruana and damaging Enemalta property.

However, defence lawyer Stephen Tonna Lowell argued that the case was time-barred. “The contraventions mentioned in the charge sheet expire after three months while the more serious charges get time-barred after two years,” the lawyer said.

“The summons was issued on 13 July 2000, and the hearing was scheduled for the 28th of the same month – only days prior to the case being time barred. But, the hearing was put off to 7 November the same year,” Tonna Lowell held. He called on the court to declare the case extinguished.

Quoting case law, Magistrate Miriam Hayman, upheld the arguments of the defence and declared the case extinguished as the charges are time barred.