Testimony in 2014 Mqabba motorcyle fatality case still inconclusive

21-year-old police constable Jean-Claude Mangion from Qrendi is accused of negligently causing the death of motorcylist Clive Brincat, 32, from Floriana in a road accident at Mqabba, while on his way to work.

Witnesses can't seem to agree about the road surface conditions which may have contributed to the death of motorcyclist Clive Brincat in January 2014.

This morning, magistrate Doreen Clarke was continued hearing witness evidence in the case against Jean-Claude Mangion, a 21-year-old police constable from Qrendi, who is accused of negligently causing the death of Clive Brincat, 32, from Floriana in a road accident at Mqabba, while on his way to work.

Several motorists and residents took to the witness stand. One witness had said that he had seen a man on a bus stop who motioned him to slow down. A policeman had approached him and asked him to assist. The witness recalled seeing a man in a pool of blood and had told the officer that he ought to call an ambulance. The time had been 0515am, the witness said.

From the witness stand, a jogger from Qrendi explained that he had been jogging towards Mqabba when “I saw a car come in the same direction as me and heard a long brake.” He looked up and had seen a car against the wall, facing the opposite direction of travel and a man on the ground. “The policeman at the scene could barely speak,” recalled the witness. He had stayed at the scene until the police arrived and took his statement. He could not recall the weather or state of the road surface.

But one Mqabba resident appeared to have no doubt, starting off his testimony by saying that the road had been wet. He had been driving and a man on a bus stop had motioned at him to slow down, explaining that an accident had taken place further up the road. When he reached the area, a policeman, who he recognised as the accused, had approached his vehicle and asked him for his mobile. He had been in a highly emotional state, recalled the witness. A call to emergency number 112 was made and his phone returned. He had tried to make a report at the police station but it was closed.

In a previous sitting last March, the court however had heard former Illum editor Julia Farrugia Portelli, who had been passing by, say that she clearly remembered that it had not been raining and stress that the ground had not been wet with dew when she knelt down beside the victim to give him first aid.

During her testimony, Farrugia Portelli had also testified that the police had seemed uninterested or reluctant to preserve the scene and had not taken statements from eyewitnesses.

The former editor had told the court that she had pointed out to the RIU officers present, that part of the road facing Qrendi was still open to traffic and vehicles were passing through the debris field, only to be told to leave, as she had nothing to do with the case.

The case continues.

Magistrate Doreen Clarke is presiding. Lawyer Michael Sciriha is appearing parte civile for the Brincat family. Inspector Johann Fenech is prosecuting. Lawyer Robert Abela is defence counsel.

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