Man accused of drunk-driving fatality gets 8pm curfew instead of house arrest

A judge changed the bail conditions handed to the young driver accused of killing one pedestrian and injuring several other in St. Julian's

Michael Caruana Turner killed one pedestrian and injured seven others
Michael Caruana Turner killed one pedestrian and injured seven others

A judge has changed the bail conditions handed to a young driver accused of killing one pedestrian and injuring several others on July 6, after noting that house arrest did not exist under Maltese law.

Madam Justice Consuelo Scerri Herrera, presiding the Criminal Court, delivered the ruling after the Attorney General filed an application for the revocation of the 20-year-old Michael Caruana Turner’s bail. Caruana Turner had been remanded under house arrest after his arraignment. The AG argued that this was irregular and that the court should either have granted bail under normal conditions or rejected the request and remanded the man in custody.

 “On the issue of bail, this court considers the principle of personal freedom to be the rule, whilst arrest or detention is to be the exception, especially when an involuntary offence is involved,” the court said.

READ MORE: Young man says he 'hates himself' over drunk-driving fatality

Maltese law doesn’t provide for house arrest, noted the court, but had apparently evolved as an extension of normal curfew conditions whereby the person was barred from leaving his home except under court authorisation or for specific reasons listed in the bail decree, Judge Scerri Herrera continued.

Although house arrest offered better conditions than prison, it was an arrest nonetheless and any period spent confined to one’s home could never be deducted from any eventual term of imprisonment, the court observed.

As the first court decided to grant bail, it had perceived none of the risks envisaged by law and therefore, there “was no cause to impose such a condition as house arrest” the court concluded. It replaced the condition with one allowing Caruana Turner to be outside his home between 8am and 8pm.

All Caruana Turner's other bail conditions remain unchanged.

Lawyer Joseph Giglio was defence counsel.

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