Leniency for boy racer who killed dad ‘serious error’

The Attorney General’s Office has argued that the magistrate made a 'serious error of judgment' when she handed a 'far too easy' punishment to a driver who killed a father of three in 2013

The Attorney General’s Office has argued that magistrate, now judge, Consuelo Scerri Herrera had made a “serious error of judgment” when she handed what he described as a “far too easy” punishment to a driver who killed a father of three in an illegal street race at age 19.

Ayrton D’Amato Quintano, now 24, received a suspended sentence from the court of magistrates last month for the 2013 killing of Filomeno Bonavia, 55, of Mosta.

D’Amato Quintano had been racing Sean Borg, driving a BMW, in his father’s Jaguar near Ghammieri farm, when the Jaguar overtook the BMW and crashed head-on into a pick-up truck being driven by Bonavia. Bonavia, who was driving in the correct lane at the time, died

at the scene of the incident.

Ayrton D’Amato Quintano, now 24, received a suspended sentence from the court of magistrates last month for the 2013 killing of Filomeno Bonavia, 55, of Mosta.
Ayrton D’Amato Quintano, now 24, received a suspended sentence from the court of magistrates last month for the 2013 killing of Filomeno Bonavia, 55, of Mosta.

That court, after taking into account the absence of any criminal record, the young age of the man at the time of the incident, his cooperation with the prosecution and the social inquiry report drawn up by his probation officer, had imposed a one-year prison sentence, suspended for two years. The man was also placed under a two-year supervision order and ordered to pay a fine of €2,000 within three years. His driving licence was suspended for one year.

But this sentence did not go down well with the Attorney General’s office, who argued that the court had been mistaken when calibrating the punishment.

“The case in question doesn’t deal with an unfortunate incident where, for example, a person was tired after a night shift, chose to drive anyway and negligently hit and killed someone,” argued Assistant Attorney General and Head of the Criminal Prosecution Unit Philip Galea Farrugia in an appeal filed earlier this week.

“In those circumstances, a suspended sentence would perhaps be ideal. But here we have a death that was caused by bravado. Poor Filomeno Bonavia did not die due to an unfortunate incident… Filomeno Bonavia was killed solely and exclusively as a result of the bravado and arrogant behaviour of [D’Amato Quintano], who of his own accord chose to race a Jaguar against a BMW on public roads.

“It is the humble understanding of the undersigned that in these circumstances, the punishment inflicted by the first honourable court amounts to a serious error of judgment and is manifestly disproportionately attenuated for the circumstances of the case, where an innocent person lost his life due to such arrogant and condemnable behaviour,” Farrugia said.

Not as contrite as expected: D’Amato Quintano’s attraction to speed would seem to have persisted
Not as contrite as expected: D’Amato Quintano’s attraction to speed would seem to have persisted

The prosecutor argued that justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done, and “human life must be given more value and a clear message to society must be sent that the very dangerous practice of illegal street racing leads to serious and onerous consequences.”

In addition, said the AG, the assertion that D’Amato Quintano had cooperated with the prosecution was “absolutely untrue.” At no point did he inform the police that he had been racing and had given them a different explanation. Only after the police received anonymous information and sought CCTV footage from the area did it emerge that he was racing on public roads.

Finally, the admission of the accused was far from early, coming over four years after his arraignment, when all the evidence had been collected.

The public prosecutor argued that while he understood that the victim’s family “would not gain anything” were the appellant to be sent to prison, justice required more than this. Any plea-bargaining arrangements would have to be formally signed and approved by the AG, “precisely because his interest is not that of any of the parties but that of the correct administration of justice,” he said.

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