Woman held captive in cave by husband is still unfit to testify, court told

Natalie William did not testify today as she was suffering from anxiety and was not in a position to testify. She must give her testimony in the next Monday

Despite the passage of over two months from Natalie Williams’ traumatic three day ordeal, in which she had been locked up by her husband in an underground cave in Rinella, Kalkara, she is still not fit to testify, a court has been told.

Williams will be visited by a psychiatrist on Tuesday.

The case against Williams’ alleged captor continued before magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit today with the woman supposed to be testifying. However her lawyer presented a certificate from a GP saying that the woman was suffering from anxiety and was not in a position to testify.

Natalie Williams’ lawyer Ludvic Caruana informed the court that back in November, the woman had been given an appointment with a psychiatrist, scheduled for tomorrow. Attempts to bring the appointment forward were unsuccessful.

Defence lawyer Franco Debono, appearing for Roddy Williams, who is accused of, amongst other things, keeping his wife locked in the Rinella cavern, attempting to murder her and raping the woman, argued that while it was fine for the court to protect everybody’s interests, his client had been detained since 1 November, over two months ago. “Everything has a limit. Then you come here with a certificate. I am concerned that the woman is trying to avoid testifying.”

The magistrate was in agreement, saying that Natalie Williams could have easily gone to another psychiatrist as the agreement had been that the woman was going to testify today via video link.

Natalie Williams medical certificate was signed by shadow health minister Stephen Spiteri. Roddy Williams’ lawyer Franco Debono immediately objected, pointing out that Spiteri was recently in the news for selling medical certificates without even seeing his patients.

Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit dismissed Spiteri’s medical certificate on the grounds that his handwriting was ineligible and that anxiety wasn’t a valid reason to miss a court case. 

“This is not a valid certificate to me,” said the magistrate. She ordered that Williams must give her testimony in the next sitting, on Monday.

During today’s sitting, inspector Paula Ciantar testified about the investigation which she and inspector Josric Mifsud had carried out into this case.

Lawyers Franco Debono, Marion Camilleri and Yanika Vidal are defence counsel, whilst lawyers Ludwig Caruana and Janice Borg are appearing parte civile for the victim.

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