Paqpaqli supercar crash: New magistrate’s recusal requested

Lawyers praise magistrate’s ‘correct manner’ in coming forward with information over possible conflict

The magistrate declared that she knew Paqpaqli TV host Tonio Darmanin (left) socially. Also pictured is accused supercar owner Paul Bailey
The magistrate declared that she knew Paqpaqli TV host Tonio Darmanin (left) socially. Also pictured is accused supercar owner Paul Bailey

The magistrate assigned to the Paqpaqli supercar crash case has been asked to recuse herself after declaring in open court that she knew relatives of one of the defendants.

The case was assigned to newly-appointed Magistrate Nadine Lia after the previous magistrate, Aaron Bugeja, was promoted to judge earlier this year.

But when the case was called for its first sitting before the new magistrate this week, she informed the parties, for the sake of transparency – as she was obliged to by law – that she knew a close relative of defendant Tonio Darmanin, socially.

The prosecution and lawyers for the injured parties did not object to the magistrate hearing the case.

But after requesting a brief recess, the defence lawyers unanimously and collegially declared that it would be “best fitting if, in the particular circumstances of the case, there is a recusal in the interests of justice and because justice must be seen to be done.”

The lawyers, however, praised the correct manner with which the court came forward with the information.

The magistrate will issue a decree from chambers on the recusal request. Meanwhile a sitting scheduled for tomorrow has been cancelled.

Police Superintendent Josric Mifsud, Inspectors Silvio Magro and Hubert Cini are prosecuting. Giannella de Marco and Stephen Tonna Lowell are counsel to Paul Bailey.

Appearing for the various members of the organising committee are lawyers Stefano Filletti, Joe Giglio, Arthur Azzopardi, Michael Sciriha, Raphael Fenech Adami and Albert Zerafa.

Franco Debono, Amadeus Cachia, Roberto Montalto, Michael Grech, Shazoo Ghaznavi, Alessia Zammit McKeon and Reuben Farrugia are among the lawyers appearing parte civile for the victims.

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