Cop gives account of road rage attack by martial arts practitioner

A police officer who was assaulted in his car while being off-duty has given his account of a road rage attack in court

The victim told the court that he had suffered a fractured nasal bone and is yet to regain sensation in half of his mouth
The victim told the court that he had suffered a fractured nasal bone and is yet to regain sensation in half of his mouth

A police officer has given his account of a road rage attack he suffered as he sat in his car, saying that the man who pummelled him had said to him that he “didn't give a fuck that he is a policeman,” when the officer had identified himself as one.

Christian Agius testified before magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech during the compilation of evidence against Angel Attard, who is charged with grievously injuring the off-duty policeman in a road rage assault on 3 January.

The victim told the court that he had suffered a fractured nasal bone as a result, and is yet to regain sensation in half of his mouth, a week after his vicious beating. “I could hardly drink, let alone eat. I had another appointment yesterday, a week after the incident and I still have no sensation in my mouth.”

Attard, 40, from Vittoriosa, studied mixed martial arts, the court was told. He displayed no discernible emotion as he sat in the dock. He absent-mindedly cracked his knuckles one by one as Agius took to the witness stand.

Photos of Christian Agius showing the extent of injuries sustained
Photos of Christian Agius showing the extent of injuries sustained

The off-duty officer had been going clothes shopping at Tigne with his girlfriend, he said, and had gone home after work to change out of his uniform. As he drove from Fgura to Tigne, he had passed through the tunnels to Paceville. He was driving in the outer lane “in the fast lane.”

“I entered the tunnel, driving within the speed limit. In my rear view mirror, I see a car tailgating me. He tailgated me through the length of the tunnel. He was so close that I couldn't see the number plate, not even the badge,” the officer said. “We were practically bumper to bumper.”

He explained that he had been driving in the outer lane and needed to cross to the inner lane as soon as he left the tunnel to take the exit to his destination. He had been unable to switch lanes before because he had been in a tunnel. He had indicated left around ¾ of the way along the tunnel, he said.

“Exactly as I left the tunnel, I switched lane and in my mirror I saw him change lane behind me... I saw the same vehicle that had been behind us in the tunnel coming at us at immensely high speed. I told my girlfriend that he's probably coming to get the last word (jiehu s-sodisfazzjon).”

“Why should the other driver have any reason to seek last word?” the Court asked. Agius replied that the man's behaviour in the tunnel had led him to suspect this intention.

“At one point, ... I hear my door opening and I see a fist coming straight into my face. I told him 'I'm a policeman, what are you doing?' and he replied “I don't give a fuck about the police (jien x'ghala bieb zobbi mill-pulizija).” 

Trapped by his seatbelt, which had locked tight, the man was punched in the face for “around three minutes,” according to his girlfriend, who pulled him over to her side.

The court was told that the accused had followed him inside the car, kneeling on the driver's seat as he continued to punch the officer with both fists.

“I couldn't defend myself in my car. I had blood streaming down my face and had almost lost consciousness.

At a point he stopped punching me and left my car. Seeing this, I got out too because I thought he was going to get something out of his car.” 

When he had asked his aggressor why he had attacked him, Agius said Attard had replied that he “thought I was going to hit his car.”

Inspector Matthew Spagnol is prosecuting. Lawyers Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia are appearing for the accused. Lawyer Arthur Azzopardi is appearing parte civile for Agius.

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