Schoolteacher's five-year sentence for fatal traffic accident slashed on appeal

The court reduced Dorianne Camilleri's sentence from five years imprisonment to 6 months 

A 35-year-old schoolteacher who had been jailed for five years last year for running over two elderly people in Attard, causing the death of one of them and grievously injuring the other, has had her sentence slashed on appeal.

Dorianne Camilleri had been sentenced in February 2017 after being found guilty of the involuntary homicide of 64-year-old Alfred Zahra in May 2011 when she was driving along Mdina Road near Rabat on her way home from a day’s teaching at a school in St Venera. She also grievously injured his sister, Carmela Zahra, 75-years-old at the time.

Camilleri had told Magistrate Doreen Clarke that she had been driving at 50 km/h behind another car in traffic when her windscreen was suddenly shattered by an impact with a person. After pulling over to the side of the road she had screamed at passersby, asking for help, she said. The accident occurred a short distance away from a pelican crossing, the court was told.

Her jail sentence had sparked public outcry because the law left the court with no option but to impose the 5-year sentence, leading to demands for the law to be changed. Camilleri had also injured the man’s sister which triggered the higher minimum prison sentence.

In her appeal before judge Edwina Grima, the court confirmed her guilt for the involuntary homicide of Alfred Zahra but found her not guilty of causing grievous bodily harm to Carmela Zahra.

The court reduced Camilleri’s sentence from five years imprisonment to 6 months, suspended for a year. Her driving licence was also suspended for one year, reduced from five and she was also ordered to pay €2,401 in court costs.

There were emotional scenes outside the courtroom as Camilleri was embraced by family members of the victim.
Lawyers Arthur Azzopardi, Stephen Tonna Lowell and Prof Ian Refalo appeared for Camilleri.

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