Lawyer David Gatt cleared of involvement in HSBC heists

Court slams testimony of the star witness against David Gatt, calling it 'entirely unbelievable,' and contradicted by material facts

Lawyer David Gatt has been cleared of involvement in a string of armed robberies, in a judgement handed down this afternoon
Lawyer David Gatt has been cleared of involvement in a string of armed robberies, in a judgement handed down this afternoon

Lawyer David Gatt has been cleared of involvement in a string of armed robberies, in a judgement handed down this afternoon.

The former police inspector had been charged with 14 serious offences, including the €1 million heist in 2007 from the HSBC Bank branch in Balzan, three failed attempts to steal armoured cash vans, an attempted robbery at the main vault at HSBC Bank’s national headquarters and the foiled hold-up of a jeweller in Attard on 30 November in 2010.

Lawyer Joseph Giglio, one of two defending the accused, had savaged the credibility of the prosecution's star witness in a sitting last May, prompting Magistrate Antonio Micallef Trigona to comment that “those who are entrusted with respecting and implementing justice don't even possess a sense of justice.” 

In its sentence, the court slammed the testimony of PC 99 Mario Portelli, who had made the allegations against Gatt to Police Commissioner John Rizzo, saying that irrespective of the outcome of the magisterial inquiry, his testimony was entirely unbelievable and not only because it was coming from a person who gives the impression of self-exaltation and pride, but primarily because his testimony is contradicted by material facts. Amongst them, the most prominent are the allegations of the pistol being pointed at the constable's head, the alleged shooting at a tree in the constable's field in Xlendi and other instances mentioned ...”

The court also noted that Portelli's medical file “doesn't speak well of his mental health.”

Outside the courtroom, Gatt told MaltaToday he was pleased with the outcome of the case, and expressed relief at finally having his name cleared. "Just make sure you print this story, so my mother can see it," Gatt said. "She's suffered so much because of this case."

Lawyers Joe Giglio and Edward Gatt defended David Gatt.

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