Giovanni Scicluna ‘ix-Xadin’ sentenced to five years in jail for stabbing man in the back

His defence argued that his actions were rendered excusable by the grievous bodily harm inflicted on him by the victim and were made in the first transport of a sudden passion, which the accused was unable to resist.

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

A man has been sentenced to five years in prison for stabbing a man in the back in an incident, which a court described as having been “avoidable with good sense.”

54 year-old, Giovanni Scicluna, known as ‘ix-xadin’, was charged with the attempted murder of Adam Cini, grievously injuring Cini, carrying a knife without a licence and using it to commit a crime, breaching the peace, breaching court-imposed conditions and relapsing.

A number of eyewitnesses testified to the accused having been sworn at and insulted by Cini, who then refused to apologise when this was demanded of him by the accused. The exchange of insults was followed by a fight in which Cini was stabbed in the back with such force that the knife ended up having to be removed in hospital.

Cini had testified that he saw the accused carrying knife as he threatened to “cut him up” if he did not apologise. 

When he refused, the accused had punched and slashed the man with the knife. Scicluna’s friend had approached, carrying a saw. At that point Cini said he had no option but to leave. As he turned, he felt a powerful blow to his back, he said.

The accused had told the court that he had been sitting outside his Valletta home with some friends when he heard a commotion near his parked motorcycle. Wanting to make it clear that its owner was nearby, as his bike had been urinated on in the past, he said he had asked the men if they were all right.

But the men had returned with a volley of eye-watering insults. At one point Scicluna’s deceased father was mentioned and things rapidly deteriorated from there, he said.

In a 58-page judgment on the matter, magistrate Josette Demicoli examined in detail the various versions given by the accused, the victim and a number of eyewitnesses and observed that the accused did not deny stabbing Cini and that Cini did not deny punching the accused. Cini was, in fact, separately charged with grievous bodily harm.

Scicluna’s defence argued that his actions were rendered excusable by the grievous bodily harm and were made in the first transport of a sudden passion, which the accused was unable to resist.

The court said that it was the version given by the victim and his friends that was the closer to the truth and that the accused’s account was “for the large part, untrue.”

Remarking that the incident “could have been easily avoided with some good sense,” the court observed that a number of witnesses had testified to the accused being instantly and inexplicably hostile to one of the victim’s friends’ comment that the bikes were “nice.” 

“It emerges from this testimony that it was the accused who started the argument as he was annoyed by the fact that the youths had looked down towards the motorcycles and, because he suspected, with no basis, that they were going to damage them. This when the street in which he lived is a public one and he had no right to prevent people from passing through it.”

Scicluna’s lawyers, Giannella De Marco and Stephen Tonna Lowell had argued that the accused had been protecting his property, alleging that some of Cini’s friends had trespassed onto his house’s entrance ramp. The court, however held that this could not be believed due to the weight of testimony to the contrary.

It ruled that it was evident that it was the accused had started the argument and having been offended by the replies, chose to escalate the situation. He had been carrying the knife at the time, said the court, asking how otherwise, he would have gone to retrieve it from his home whilst getting beaten up, as he had claimed.

“The accused in his testimony tries to give the impression that he only used the knife once and that Cini had punched him multiple times…this is not true,” said the court, referring to medical evidence, which showed the accused only suffered a cut to his upper lip, which needed stitches. X-rays showed no internal bleeding or other wounds. Cini, on the other hand, had been slashed several times before being stabbed in the back.

The court opined that “the accused simply wanted to give the last blow,” to Cini as he walked away. “What urgent necessity was there for the accused to hit him in the back at that time?” it asked.

The magistrate dismissed the provocation argument. “Certainly it is not acceptable that a person of ordinary temperament, simply because someone insults his family – wrong as that may be – resolves the issue through violence.”

Scicluna was found guilty of grievous bodily harm and breaching probation, for which he received a 5 year prison sentence and a fine of €116.47. He was also ordered to pay €5,064 in court costs. A 3-year restraining order in favour of Adam Cini was also issued, running from the day of Scicluna’s release.

Police Inspectors Kylie Borg and Saviour Baldacchino prosecuted. Lawyers Giannella Demarco and Stephen Tonna Lowell defended Scicluna, whilst lawyer Edward Gatt appeared parte civile for Adam Cini.

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