'Inexperienced' Paul Bailey holds highest GT racing licence, UK motorsports body tells court

A representative of an international sports car licencing body has contradicted the findings of a magisterial inquiry into the 2015 Paqpaqli Ghall-Istrina crash in which 23 people were injured

Millionaire Paul Bailey enters court with lawyer Gianella de Marco (left)
Millionaire Paul Bailey enters court with lawyer Gianella de Marco (left)

A representative of an international sports car licencing body has contradicted the findings of the magisterial inquiry into the 2015 Paqpaqli Ghall-Istrina crash in which 23 people were injured, telling a court that driver Paul Bailey had the highest level of driving certification possible.

Testifying by Skype this morning, Sir Simon Blunt, the General Secretary of the Motor Sports Association (UK) told magistrate Aaron Bugeja that Bailey held a National licence B, National licence A and an International licence C- described as the highest form of racing license that could be given for GT racing. This contradicts the conclusion reached by magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera who had partly blamed Bailey’s “lack of experience in professional driving”, noting the use of excessive speed and a lack of handling techniques or corrective measures.

The surprising development comes as the legal wrangle over the incident which left 23 injured, some of them critically, continued in court today and yesterday.

The 13-member core organising committee for Paqpaqli ghall- Istrina, Paul Bailey, Tonio Darmanin, Tonio Cini, Agostino Degiorgio, Jonathan Tonna, Kevin Perry, Melvin Haber, Ian Keith Cilia Pisani, Jonathan Bruno, Julian Mannara, Christopher Sultana, David Bugeja and Brian Gatt are accused of involuntarily causing grievous bodily harm, as well damage to various motor vehicles, through imprudence, carelessness and non-observance of regulations.

The defendants are arguing that the blame for the incident lied with the event organisers, for ignoring safety concerns and letting the public stand at dangerous areas of the track behind crash barriers which were not fit for purpose.

The event organisers, including the Malta Community Chest Fund insist that the accident was Bailey’s fault, previously arguing that he was not qualified to drive the Porsche 918 Spyder. Today’s testimony appears to have put paid to the latter assertion, however.

The case continues.

Police inspectors Josric Mifsud, Silvio Magro and Hubert Cini are prosecuting.

Lawyers Giannella DeMarco and Stephen Tonna Lowell are counsel to Paul Bailey.

Lawyer Joe Giglio is counsel to Tonio Darmanin. Lawyer Stefano Filletti is counsel to Brian Gatt and Julian Manara.

Lawyer Arthur Azzopardi is defence counsel for Ian Cilia Pisani, Kevin Perry and Chris Sultana. Other members of the Paqpaqli team are being assisted by Dr Michael Sciriha, Dr Raphael Fenech Adami and Dr Albert Zerafa.

Franco Debono, Amadeus Cachia, Roberto Montalto, Michael Grech, Shazoo Ghaznavi, Alessia Zammit Mackeon and Reuben Farrugia are among the lawyers appearing parte civile for the victims.

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