Paqpaqli circuit designer: ‘We didn’t know where spectators would stand’

The circuit's designer said there had been no communication with the organisers but only with the local representatives for Porsche

One of the designers of the 2015 Paqpaqli motor track told the court that he didn’t know where spectators would be.

Several people were severely injured when a Porsche Spyder, driven by Paul Bailey, crashed into the barriers and out of the track back in 2015. 

The track designer also said he was unaware as to where spectators would sit said that the makeshift circuit was designed for Porsche 911 GT3 not for the Spyder supercar.

Freelance driving instructor Frederick Dineuff, who works for German company Sport Driving GmbH, explained to the court via video conference how he had been engaged by the local representative for Porsche to perform some demo laps with potential and existing customers during the charity event.

He had travelled to Malta on 1 October, 2015 and was met at the airport by Sandro Cauchi, a local Porsche representative, and accompanied to San Anton Palace where he stayed during his three-day stay.

He recalled how someone from the organising committee had provided him with a blueprint of the track but could not remember who that person was.

Dineuff said he had fine-tuned the design, adding safety measures like chicanes and braking zones since he was aware that amateurs would be driving the vehicles at up to 200km/hr.

He also admitted that he was not the one responsible for barriers installed around the track.

“We didn’t know where the spectators would be,” he said, pointing out that there had been no communication with the organisers but only with the local representative for Porsche.

Defence lawyer Giannella de Marco asked Dineuff whether he had drawn attention to the fact that the circuit was not designed for the Spyder and Dineuff replied by saying that he didn’t remember.

“I don’t recollect whether I did because I was busy with customers. I don’t remember whether I told Sandro or anyone else.”

Dineuff accused Bailey of driving faster than when Dineuff performed test runs. “He went straight to the chicane, he went faster, much faster it seemed to me,” he said.

Lawyers Stephen Tonna Lowell and De Marco, assisting Mr Bailey, pointed out that their client had been asked to testify more than once in the course of the magisterial inquiry, and this in between facing neurosurgical interventions for the injuries suffered in the crash.

His statements, having been given without the assistance of a lawyer, should be declared inadmissible by the court, in the light of a strong line of case-law on this subject.

The lawyers also requested the separation of proceedings in respect of Bailey whose “defence is logically different from that of the other co-accused.”

Tonna Lowell also brought into question the legitimacy of the circuit designer’s statements.

“It is unacceptable to have an expert draw up a report and deliver an opinion when he has no expertise on the matter,” she argued, labelling the expert in question as “manifestly incompetent since he possesses no qualification save for a one-year evening course on motor mechanics.”

Magistrate Aaron Bugeja granted the lawyers for the victims one month within which to rebut these arguments in writing, so that a decision could then be taken by the court.

The case continues in May.

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