Qbajjar murder jury | Prosecution begins its final submissions

Prosecution: ‘We are acting solely in the name of the Republic of Malta. Our goal is that justice is served. Nothing more and nothing less’

The prosecution has started its final submissions in the jury of Gerald Galea, who is accused of the murder of 54-year-old John Spiteri and the attempted murder of Spiteri’s son, Matthew.

Lawyer Giannella Busuttil, who is prosecuting on behalf of the Republic with her colleague at the Office of the Attorney General, Kevin Valletta, started the prosecution's final submissions this afternoon telling jurors that in her ten years practicing law, she felt that this was one case where, after going through the evidence, the accused must be judged by the Criminal court for homicide and attempted homicide.

“We believe that Gerald Galea murdered John Spiteri and and attempted to murder Matthew Spiteri. These are the only possibilities we are positing.”

The AG and the police had no monetary interest in the outcome or interest in avenging the deceased, said the lawyer.

“We are acting solely in the name of the Republic of Malta. Our goal is that justice is served. Nothing more and nothing less.”

Busuttil explained to the jurors that the defence’s job was to create reasonable doubt of the accused’s guilt in their minds. But there were no two ways about it, she said. “Facts are facts.”

“Gerald Galea is claiming to have been beaten like there is no tomorrow... Dr. Mario Scerri told us he only suffered four blows. Where are these injuries?” she asked.

In a previous sitting, Scerri had testified that the man had received at least four blows, one of which fractured Galea’s eye socket and which would have caused “excruciating pain,” classifying the accused’s injuries as grievous.

The lawyer said that she had objected to some of the medico-legal expert’s conclusions, which she said had been reached because he was not aware of the full background of the case.

Although blows were clearly suffered, he could not establish whether they were given before or after the death, or whether they had been dealt by the victim or his son or another person.

When the jury had been taken to visit the scene in Gozo, the accused had not appeared to be in emotional difficulty, she said, but when he testified, he broke down in tears.

Ġejna bit-tissue,” (out comes the tissue) mocked the prosecutor, accusing the defence of clutching at straws when it highlighted the amount of times Inspector Chris Pullicino had sipped water whilst on the witness stand.

Busuttil explained that the inspector suffered from medical conditions which caused abnormal thirst and which required regular hydration. “The police have no interest in the outcome of this case,” she repeated.

The defence had picked on inconsistencies in the testimony of the son, Matthew Spiteri, she said.

“Spiteri had no wish to see his father crushed to death,” said the prosecutor. “Look at the substance of his testimony, didn’t he always tell us the same thing? Place yourselves in the shoes of Matthew Spiteri... use your common sense, but obviously the defence is not telling you this because it is not to their advantage.”

She pointed out that the accused’s brother had remembered Galea telling him that he “needs a good lawyer,” as an indication of the man’s guilt.

Matthew Spiteri had no qualms about telling the jury that he had punched the accused after he had run over the victim, said Busuttil. The witness “had no interest in lying” as he could never bring his father back, she argued, and because “the worst thing that could happen to him had already happened.”

The lawyer added scornfully: “Maybe the accused wanted us to put the Daihatsu Terios on trial, because he seemed to be saying that it drove itself.”

The trial continues.

Lawyers Kevin Valletta and Giannella Busuttil from the Office of the Attorney General are prosecuting. Galea is being defended by lawyers Arthur Azzopardi and Jason Azzopardi. Lawyer Joe Giglio is appearing as parte civile for the Spiteri family.

Galea is accused of the murder of 54-year-old John Spiteri and the attempted murder of Spiteri’s son, Matthew, in an incident sparked by the accused’s objection to the mutilation of a tamarisk tree in Qbajjar car park, Marsalforn. The jury had heard medical experts testify that Spiteri died of injuries caused by being run over by a car, driven by Galea.

Earlier today, psychiatrist Mark Xuereb, who treated the accused for post-traumatic stress disorder after the incident, described the man as “a gentleman in all senses”.

Galea was a religious man and a strong believer in Socratic dialogue, both reasonable and logical, said the psychiatrist.

“He was always consistent and congruent.”

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