Court orders investigation into policemen’s alleged assault

Court orders police commissioner to investigate behaviour of two police officers after youth claims he was assaulted and forcefully restrained during arrest. 

A court has today ordered the police commissioner to investigate allegations of excessive use of force by two police officers against a man arrested for dangerous driving.

Magistrate Aaron Bugeja delivered his order this afternoon during the arraignment of a 24-year-old man after his lawyer, Mario de Marco, said his client had been assaulted and forcefully restrained by police.

Standing before Magistrate Aaron Bugeja, the accused, Jean Paul Aquilina, 24, of Mosta, pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving, disobeying police orders and assaulting police officers Mark Tonna and David Camilleri.

Prosecuting Inspector Roderick Vella told the court that the accused was pulled over by police at around 1am in Mgarr. The inspector explained that Aquilina provided incorrect ID card details, became aggressive, and even slightly injured two police officers before being arrested.

However, this version of events was strongly disputed by Aquilina’s lawyer who claimed that the accused had in fact cooperated with police before he was forcefully thrown to the ground, punched in the face, and arrested.

Aquilina was treated at the Floriana health centre and Mater Dei Hospital, before appearing in court this afternoon with a blood-stained shirt and a bruised arm.

Aquilina’s lawyer, Mario de Marco, also called on Police Commissioner Michael Cassar to investigate officers Mark Tonna and David Camilleri. Asked why an inquiry into the officers’ behaviour had not been ordered straight away, the prosecution said the officers had finished their shift and went home. 

Upholding the defence’s request, Magistrate Aaron Bugeja ordered Police Commissioner Michael Cassar to investigate officers Mark Tonna and David Camilleri.

The court also granted Aquilina bail against a personal guarantee of €5,000.

Police Inspector Roderick Vella prosecuted, while Lawyer Mario de Marco appeared for the accused.

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