Liam Debono 'not receiving medical treatment' in prison, court told

Liam Debono has complained that he has been placed in one of the worst divisions in prison and was not receiving the medical treatment he needed

Liam Debono, the 18-year-old accused of attempting to kill a police officer who stopped him for not wearing a seatbelt, has complained that he has been placed in one of the worst divisions in prison and was not receiving the medical treatment he needed.

The case against Debono for breaching his bail conditions continued this morning with the accused’s legal aid counsel Victor Bugeja – the accused having been dropped by his previous lawyer, Franco Debono – arguing that the use of a legal aid lawyer as a stopgap whilst searching for new counsel was an abuse of the system. The accused also needed to be allowed by the prison authorities to contact his parents so as to appoint a new lawyer.

“He’s 18 now and needs to speak to someone to appoint a lawyer and time to speak to him,” Bugeja said. “There are serious consequences, he could lose €50,000, so he needs to prepare a defence,” noted the court.

Debono complained that he had been placed in division six at Corradino Correctional Facility after his re-arrest for allegedly breaching his bail conditions by driving again.

He had originally been on bail for the attempted murder of PC Simon Schembri, whom he ran over and dragged under his car after the officer pulled him over for a seatbelt infraction.

The 18-year-old had been rearrested on 24 May after an off-duty policeman spotted him behind the wheel of a Fiat Uno. He stands to lose €50,000 in bail guarantees if found guilty.

Bugeja told the court that the accused had been prescribed medical treatment which was not available in prison. “This medicine must be taken six times a day. One of his complaints is that he wasn’t allowed to speak to his parents. It is these people who must coordinate the treatment,” explained the lawyer.

The court made a recommendation that the director of prisons have the prison doctor coordinate with the accused’s doctor, through his father, to ensure that the medicine is taken into prison.

Various witnesses testified in today’s brief sitting. Journalist Brandon Pisani presented the court with photographs of the moment of Debono’s arrest which he had received from a confidential source. A police sergeant also took the stand to exhibit a photograph which he had taken with his mobile phone whilst he was following the accused in his car.

A Transport Malta representative testified to the ownership of three cars which had allegedly been driven by the accused in breach of his bail conditions.

Prosecuting police inspector Pierreguido Saliba informed the court that some witnesses were “trying not to be found.” Magistrate Joe Mifsud ordered that these persons be placed on the wanted list and their photographs are published, also authorising the police to notify them with summons at all times and at any place.

Court registrar Margaret Debattista testified to say that no report had been received from Debono’s probation officer, despite the probation officer having been ordered to present a report every six months.

The court adjourned the case to 5 June for the rest of the prosecution’s evidence.