French tourist tells defence lawyer to shut up in court when questioned

The man claimed that his wife and himself were assaulted by a taxi driver that attempted to overcharge them

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

A French tourist told defence lawyer Malcolm Mifsud to shut his mouth when he was being cross-examined as part of proceedings against a taxi driver he accused of assault.

Jean-Louise Henri Delaporte, 75, claimed that a taxi driver had attempted to overcharge him and then assaulted him and his wife when he refused to pay. 

Mifsud, defence counsel for the taxi driver, asked Delaporte whether it was he who pushed the driver first.

“I am 75 years old and cannot attack a taxi driver at my age,” the alleged victim replied.

“Irrespective of your age, did you push him, yes or no?” the defence questioned.

Delaporte claimed that he was hit by the driver first and it was then that he pushed him. He claimed that he had suffered minor injuries to his right eye.

The lawyer asked again whether the alleged victim had pushed the driver first, to which Delaporte replied, “shut up!”.

 “You just told me, a lawyer and in court, to shut up, so one can imagine what you did to my poor client,” Mifsud said.

The taxi driver, Emilio Persiano from Hamrun, aged 49, is charged with assaulting Delaporte and his wife, causing his two victims slight injuries, and breaching public order. 

The court heard how Delaporte and his wife were coming out of Valletta when they saw a white taxi and asked its driver whether he would be willing to drive up to Radisson Golden Bay Resort. 

In court, Persiano shook his head and huffed, clearly disagreeing with the statement.

Presiding magistrate Doreen Clarke told the accused that unless he was willing to hear about the proceedings from the lockup, he would better sit still and be quiet. 

Delaporte claimed that Persiano told them that the price for the trip would be €25 but that when they arrived at the Radisson, the driver wanted €35. 

“I got out of the car and he started screaming at me to pay him €35. He hit me,” Delaporte said.

Delaporte insisted that after being hit his glasses had flown off his face and broke on impact. Moreover, he said that he had lost his hearing aid, which costs some €2,000, in the process.

The case was ordered to be heard urgently since the French couple are currently on holiday in Malta and are expected to return back home in Paris in the coming days.

Delaporte went on to claim that Persiano had even hit his wife. “I didn’t consult a doctor because I’m not soft,” the Frenchman replied, giving his reason why he did not have a medical report. 

He added that he had been instructed by the hotel security and the hotel manager present at the time of the incident to file a police report. 

After hearing the testimony of the two French tourists, the court granted bail to the accused on the guarantee that he would not approach any witnesses or staff from the Radisson hotel and that he does not commit another crime. 

He is to sign a bail book at the Hamrun police station every Monday sometime between 6am and 6pm. He was released from arrest on a personal guarantee of €1,000 and ordered to pay a €300 deposit.

Inspector Paula Ciantar prosecuted.

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