Underage hit-and-run driver who maimed police officer released on bail

Liam Debono, who ran over and maimed a police officer conducting a routine traffic stop has been released on bail by the criminal court

A young man accused of attempted murder of police officer Simon Schembri has been released on bail, almost five months after being charged.

Liam Debono, 17, was released on bail on Friday by Judge Antonio Mizzi against a deposit of €10,000 and a personal guarantee of €40,000.

He was also ordered to sign a bail book weekly and observe a curfew. The court appointed a probation officer to follow the accused.

Apart from the attempted murder charge, Debono is facing another 46 charges, after dragging the policeman for a distance under his car.

The police officer had stopped Debono over a seatbelt infraction, and ended up losing an arm in the incident, narrowly escaping with his life.

The youth had been in police custody since his arraignment in May.

There were heated exchanges in Mizzi’s courtroom between Assistant Attorney General Philip Galea Farrugia and defence lawyer Franco Debono as both sides made submissions on bail. 

READ MORE: Mother gave Liam Debono cannabis at 9 ‘to keep him quiet’, court told

Mizzi presiding the criminal court, was hearing a fresh application for bail following the refusal by the court of magistrates to release the youth from arrest.

Debono submitted that where the nuclear family has failed, as it clearly had in the accused’s case, society had to step in. The youth had a difficult upbringing but was an ideal candidate for reform, said the lawyer. He pointed out that the accused had expressed his remorse and apologised in person to the victim. The defence requested that a probation officer be appointed.

Galea Farrugia argued that bail should be withheld as the accused had no respect for authority.

In his decree, Mizzi ruled that the accused was still a minor and therefore required support.

“It would be of no benefit were the applicant to continue to be detained at the Corradino Correctional Facility and therefore this court is of the opinion that today the time has come for him to be reinserted into the social fabric of our society,” Mizzi said.

READ MORE: Police officer critically injured after being run over by underage driver