Driver in alleged wife-beating episode denies charges, claims police brutality

The man was stopped during a road check in Mdina last Saturday and was allegedly seen beating his wife before police approached him

A lawyer representing a driver who was charged with assaulting three police officers on Saturday is alleging that, far from beating his wife, it was the driver who had been on the receiving end of a beating at the hands of the officers.

According previous reports, Sandro Camilleri, of the Police Officers' Union (POU-GWU), had claimed that the driver had been seen "beating up his wife" in the car before he was stopped by the police. Contacted by MaltaToday, the police's communications office said that it could only confirm that the driver was stopped in a road check.

The man, who was released on bail this morning, had been stopped during road checks at the Ta’ Srina roundabout near Mdina on Saturday at around 11.30am.

The police’s communications office had subsequently released a statement saying that the officers had stopped a BMW with foreign registration plates. The driver, a 51-year-old man from Mqabba, had allegedly attacked Inspector Sergio Pisani after the latter asked for documentation. The man was arrested on site whilst the inspector was hospitalised for light injuries sustained, read the statement.

However, before Magistrate Clare Stafrace Zammit this morning, the Maltese man - whose name cannot be published, by court order - denied beating his wife. His car, which had foreign plates, had been stopped by police who claimed that his documents were not in order and wanted to impound the car, he said.

He was not charged with assaulting his wife.

The man was arraigned yesterday but that sitting was adjourned till today, allegedly because his lawyer could not be contacted. However the man’s lawyer, Roberto Montalto, explained to reporters that the case had been postponed for logistical reasons as he was unable to appear at short notice yesterday.

His client had accused the police of beating him, he said, adding that the man’s wife was expected to testify to this effect at a later stage.

Inspector Jurgen Vella and Edel Mary Camilleri, prosecuting, had insisted on him going to prison, said the lawyer.