Hugo Chetcuti murder: Accused was in hotel lobby earlier that day

The court imposed tight security measures after a witness verbally abused the man accused of the murder of Hugo Chetcuti in the last sitting

Bojan Cmelik is accused of murdering Hugo Chetcuti
Bojan Cmelik is accused of murdering Hugo Chetcuti

Armed guards, metal detectors and tighter controls on who can enter the courtroom were imposed by the magistrate hearing the compilation of evidence against the man accused of murdering Hugo Chetcuti.

The court case against Bojan Cmelik continued this afternoon after a tumultous sitting on 26 October in which a witness verbally abused the accused. The sitting had to be suspended.

READ ALSO: Hugo Chetcuti's murder sitting abandoned after witness hurls insults at accused

Magistrate Marseanne Farrugia said that only authorised persons could be present for the proceedings. Aside from journalists, two relatives of the accused and two of the deceased were allowed to attend the sitting. Nobody was allowed to leave the courtroom without the permission of the court.

In today's sitting, Caroline Barbara, a manager at Hugo's Boutique Hotel, testified that she had seen the accused in the hotel lobby in the afternoon, having recognised him from the hat he was wearing.

Barbara testified how she was standing next to Chetcuti that evening when the man approached and hugged her boss. Chetcuti then turned to her, pulled up his shirt and told her he had been stabbed.

The court also heard how Cmelic had his employment with two different establishments of the Hugo Group, terminated several months before the murder.

16:07 The case is adjourned to 12 December at 3pm. Kurt Sansone
16:05 The prosecution informs the court that it has no further witnesses to summon for today. Kurt Sansone
16:04 Giglio is asking whether the police found anything unusual when they removed Cmelic’s clothes. “No,” Dimech answers, who points to the accused when asked whether he recognises the suspect in court. Kurt Sansone
16:02 He was subsequently called to Mater Dei Hospital to meet a court expert, in order to certify Cmelic as being in good health. Kurt Sansone
16:02 “We then took the accused to the Floriana health centre, where he was examined by a doctor.” Kurt Sansone
16:01 Dimech tells the court that Cmelic’s clothes were removed at the St Julians police station to preserve evidence. Kurt Sansone
15:58 Dimech stopped a passing police car, at which point he received a call to inform him that Cmelic had been arrested. “I then returned to the St Julians police station.” Kurt Sansone
15:57 The court hears how the accused eluded the pursuing officers, who informed their colleagues. The chase continued in the Chalet area of Sliema. The sergeant, travelling in an RIU car, had also lost the accused. Kurt Sansone
15:54 “What I remember for sure is that he ran fast. He ran a lot and it was difficult [to catch him].” Kurt Sansone
15:54 Dimech continues: “I gave a specific order to stop, I think I gave it three times. Three to four times, I don’t remember. He continued to run…” Kurt Sansone
15:52 Giglio asks the police officer what he was wearing. “I was wearing the normal summer [police] uniform.” Kurt Sansone
15:51 Dimech recounts how he tried to stop Cmelik: “I was going down the steps and I told a sergeant ‘I think this is our guy’… I was pointing directly at him, he wasn’t the centre of the group but the last on the left. He [Cmelik] stood up. That is when I confirmed 100%. He made it easier for us. He started moving. I told him ‘stop this is the police, can I talk to you’ and he started running.” Kurt Sansone
15:48 Lawyer Joe Giglio, parte civile for the Chetcuti family, is asking questions. Kurt Sansone
15:48 Security in the courtroom is high. There are 12 personnel from the Corradino Correctional Facility and other security staff in the courtroom. One is carrying a submachinegun. Kurt Sansone
15:47 Dimech says that he started to patrol the area on foot with two other officers. “All of a sudden I saw a group of students on the beach near a tower on the Sliema promenade… they were having a BBQ. I noticed a guy who matched the description Isaac Chetcuti had given us.” Kurt Sansone
15:46 Dimech gives an account of the police efforts to capture Cmelik. Kurt Sansone
15:45 Dimech recalls how Hugo’s son, Isaac Chetcuti, had given him a description of the man who stabbed his father. Kurt Sansone
15:45 Carl Dimech, a former police constable, takes the stand next. Kurt Sansone
15:44 After September 2017, Cmelik went for his wages, took them and left. "That was the last time I saw him before the murder,” Falzon says. Kurt Sansone
15:43 Falzon says he had fired Cmelik himself, in person. Kurt Sansone
15:42 “In Bacco we had a rule of either speaking English or Maltese because we don’t speak Serbian… one particular reason I fired him was because he came with this attitude of ‘I will speak Serbian if I want to.’” Kurt Sansone
15:42 “At first he started as a bar helper, then we trained him as a bartender and then he started serving people as a bartender,” Falzon says. Kurt Sansone
15:42 Falzon tells the court that Cmelik started his employment at Bacco in February 2017 and finished in September 2017. Kurt Sansone
15:40 Falzon is Hugo Chetcuti’s brother-in-law. Kurt Sansone
15:39 Falzon had launched into a torrent of verbal abuse aimed at the accused. Kurt Sansone
15:38 Noel Falzon is summoned to the witness stand again. He was the last person to testify in the last sitting before it was abandoned. Kurt Sansone
15:37 Mallia says that Cmelik was supposed to have come to work for New Year’s Eve but didn’t show up. Kurt Sansone
15:36 The court asks why he was fired. Kurt Sansone
15:36 Bojan Cmelik, the accused, was employed with the company as a bar helper, Mallia says. He was fired because he didn’t show up for work. “It was my decision.” Kurt Sansone
15:35 Next witness is Dylan Mallia, at the time Operations Manager of Hugo’s Terrace. Kurt Sansone
15:35 Barbara says she instructed employees to gather CCTV footage from the lobby and passed it on to the police soon after the murder. Kurt Sansone
15:34 Barbara says she had seen a man with a big hat in the lobby. “What I remember and this is why I looked twice at the man, was that he was wearing a large sun hat. The colour I believe was beige or khaki. That was the first time I ever saw him.” Kurt Sansone
15:33 “We were having a cigarette outside… I see this tall man sort of hugging Mr Chetcuti. All of a sudden he went running up the stairs… Mr Chetcuti came towards me and told me ‘I got stabbed’, pulled up his shirt and showed me his wound.” Kurt Sansone
15:32 Hotel Manager Caroline Barbara takes the witness stand. She says that on the night Hugo was knifed, staff were sampling menu at a seafood restaurant. Kurt Sansone
15:30 The compilation of evidence against Bojan Cmelik continues today. Kurt Sansone

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