Drama in court as men accused of assault are granted bail after victim Liam Debono forgives them

Boy racer Liam Debono, who is facing an attempted murder charge, wants criminal proceedings against his assailants to continue, but tells court he forgives them and wants this "reflected in punishment" • One of the accused fainted in court, lifted out by fellow accused

Five men who were accused of beating up Liam Debono, the 17-year-old youth charged with the attempted murder of PC Simon Schembri, have been granted bail, amid dramatic scenes in court

The fiveMarlon Baldacchino, 19, Emerson Bugeja, 19, Tyson Bugeja, 25, Kyle Ellul, 20, and a 15-year-old boy, who can’t be named by virtue of being a minor – were arraigned before duty magistrate Gabriella Vella Sunday afternoon, and all initially pleaded guilty to the charges brought against them, but later withdrew this plea.

A huge commotion erupted when one of the accused fell badly ill and fainted during the course of the sitting. He was lifted out of the court room by the other four accused, where he was laid down in the court’s corridor.

The fellow accused and family members, visibly very concerned, gathered round him, as policemen and other court officials struggled to help him.

Some time later, he appeared to feel better, and returned, together with the other accused, to the court room.

Parte civile lawyer Franco Debono then told the court that, while Liam Debono wanted proceedings to continue against the accused, he wished to declare that he was forgiving them and that such forgiveness should be reflected in the sentencing.

Franco Debono said that Liam Debono wanted that the accused not speak to him again.

The accused’s legal aid subsequently proceeded to inform the court that all the accused wished to withdraw their guilty plea - which they had submitted prior to the sitting being suspended after one of them fell ill - and change it to one of not guilty.

The court issued a protection order, ordering the accused not to approach Liam Debono.

It banned them from leaving Malta, and from approaching the prosecution’s witnesses.

They were also ordered to sign the bail book daily. A curfew was imposed from 6pm to 5.30am.

The accused were then released on bail against a €100 deposit, and personal guarantee of €2,000 each.

The court warned that if they approached Liam Debono, they risked a fine of up to €7,000 and a jail term of up to two years.

Earlier in the sitting, the police told the court, that, having identified the accused as the suspects in the case, they had started to make contact with them over the phone on Saturday morning.

The accused were each called one by one, and they were informed that the police wanted to speak with them.

The five then turned up together at the police station voluntarily, and were later arrested, the court heard.

Read also:

Liam Debono beaten up in Luqa

The incident in question happened on Friday, with sources having told MaltaToday that Debono – who is currently out on bail - was beaten up by a group of men who visited him at his place of work, at the Luqa industrial estate.

Lawyer Marita Pace Dimech was legal aid for the five accused.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia appeared parte civile for Liam Debono.

Inspectors Sarah Zerafa and Paul Camilleri prosecuted.

More in Court & Police