Court hears tales of private cars covered in paint from nearby Palumbo shipyard

A Cospicua resident has told a court how how woke up one morning to find his new car covered in flecks of paint from the shipyard.

Patrick Scicluna told Magistrate Aaron Bugeja that he had not noticed the white paint on his car's metallic silver paint job, until he saw the windscreen had been coated with a rash of white dots. The entire surface of the vehicle had been covered with the paint flecks, the surface of which felt like sandpaper.

Scicluna was one of six Cospicua residents who told similar stories as they testified this afternoon against Palumbo shipyards director Joseph Calleja, who is accused of causing damage to the personal property of various people out of negligence and lack of observance of the regulations in May 2013 and the months leading up to it.

The man had spoken to his neighbours and learned that everyone who had parked along the Vittoriosa seafront had suffered the same problem.

A police report was duly filed.

While no paint spraying operations had been taking place in the immediate vicinity, the witness said that at that time, a large ship being serviced at the dockyard was being sprayed white.

After getting a quotation for his paintwork to be buffered he decided to do the job himself, adding that it took him two days of scrubbing with a special paint-removing emulsion to remove the paint marks.

Retired police constable Jonathan Paris also told a similar story. He had spent €100 getting the paint buffed off his car's exterior. He had handled a number of similar police reports himself and had taken a number of the affected vehicles to the police headquarters so that a sample of the paint could be lifted.

The case continues.