Relatives request Matthew Zahra's remains for burial

The relatives of a man whose remains were found in a Birzebbugia field ask the court to release the remains so they can lay their relative to rest.

Matthew Zahra
Matthew Zahra
The Birzebbugia field owned by Alfredo Attard, where the Camilleris and Matthew Zahra were buried.
The Birzebbugia field owned by Alfredo Attard, where the Camilleris and Matthew Zahra were buried.

The family of a man whose remains were found in a Birzebbugia field a year after he was reported missing, have requested that the court experts finalise their reports on the remains in order for the body to be released for burial.

Representing the relatives of Valletta taxi driver Matthew Zahra, lawyer Stefano Filletti raised the issue during the compilation of evidence against 39-year-old Jason Galea and 49-year-old Ronald Urry. The two are charged with the murder of 27-year-old Matthew Zahra.

Bones believed to belong to Zahra were unearthed from a field in Birzebbugia in the week that police found a shallow grave containing the freshly murdered bodies of Mario Camileri 'l-Imniehru' and his son Mario Camilleri, in August 2013.

DNA expert Marisa Cassar said that following DNA analysis, it was determined that two of the bones had mitochondrial DNA that matched the mitochondrial DNA of the mother of Matthew Zahra. There was also a bag of bones that contained both human and animal bones. She told the court that it would be best to appoint another expert to distinguish between human and non-human bones.

The bones were found at a Qajjenza field when police officers were searching for the Camilleris.

The Zahras' lawyer said Matthew Zahra’s father and girlfriend were still waiting to give their loved one a respectful burial. Stefano Filletti asked the court to at least release the majority of Zahra’s remains, which are being kept as evidence.

The case is postponed to Friday 2 July, when the defence counsel and the prosecution are expected to make their submissions about the request for bail for the accused.

Magistrate Josette Demicoli is presiding. Lawyers Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri are representing Ronald Urry while Dr Joseph Giglio is representing Jason Galea.

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