Driver accused of trying to run policemen over was taking child to health centre, court told

The compilation of evidence against Justin James Grima started today with police officers telling the court they had assumed at the time that the man was lying    

A 24-year-old driver who stands accused of attempting to run over policemen who stopped him in Hamrun last week, was taking his child to the health centre, a court heard on Friday morning.

The compilation of evidence against Justin James Grima got underway on Friday, with the court again hearing how the man had had threatened police officers who stopped him as he was driving through Triq il-Kbira in Hamrun.

Taking the witness stand, sergeant Matthew Cachia told the court that he was stationed in the street when he noticed Grima’s car driving past with tinted windows. He said he had followed the car, eventually stopping it near Daniel’s shopping centre.

The officer said he recalled a woman and a child exiting the Mitsubishi Shogun after he pulled it over.

Grima was then told to follow the police to the police station but had made a sudden U-turn in a bid to escape, but was stopped a second time by the police.

It was at this point that Grima asked the police whether he could take the child to the health centre. “I assumed it was just an excuse,” the sergeant said, adding that Grima appeared to be alone in the car.

The sergeant said Grima had refused to obey orders, forcing him to call for assistance. A second officer arrived and parked his motorbike in front of Grima’s car.

The first officer ordered Grima to hand over his car key to which he replied that he wouldn’t let the policeman to take his vehicle, “it’s the apple of my eye,” he said.

“My cousin has already run over one of you and I won’t mind running over two more,” he said, referring to his cousin Liam Debono, who is currently facing criminal proceedings over an incident which almost killed police constable Simon Schembri.

Grima then got back into his car, with the police officers trying to take his key to prevent him from driving off. This resulted in the car switching on and moving forward, crashing into the policeman’s bike.

Prosecuting Inspector took the witness stand next and told the court that following his arrest, Grima had released a statement in which he said that he was confused at the time and didn’t know what he was doing.

This was echoed by prosecuting inspector Pierguido Saliba who testified to having been told by Grima that he recalled nothing of the incident.

The court heard how Grima had not failed a breathalyser test carried out following the incident.

He was once again denied bail, with the court noting that it wasn’t the first time that he had been convicted of similar charges, yet showed not willingness to change his behavior.