Criminal Court confirms bail for Cisse murder suspects

A judge in the Criminal Court has dismissed the Attorney General’s application to have the bail granted to Lorin Scicluna and Francesco Fenech revoked

Lorin Scicluna (left) and Francesco Fenech (right) were charged with the murder of Lassana Cisse Souleymane
Lorin Scicluna (left) and Francesco Fenech (right) were charged with the murder of Lassana Cisse Souleymane

A judge in the Criminal Court has dismissed the Attorney General’s application to have the bail granted to Lorin Scicluna and Francesco Fenech revoked.

Scicluna and Fenech, both former AFM soldiers, stand charged with the racially-motivated murder of an Ivorian man, Lassana Cisse, who was gunned down in a drive-by shooting at Hal Far in April.

Earlier this month, the pair were released on bail against a deposit of €30,000 and a personal guarantee of €20,000 and were ordered to observe a curfew as well as sign a bail book daily.

The Attorney General had asked the Criminal Court to revoke the bail decree, arguing that there was a fear of public disorder if the men were to be allowed to benefit from a temporary release from custody pending trial.

But Madam Justice Edwina Grima, in a brief decree handed down today, said that the court “immediately sees that there is no reason to distance itself from the opinion of the First Court.”

A glance at the bail decree showed that all the elements required at law for bail to be granted were present, said the judge and noted that the bail conditions were “quite onerous.”

In addition, it appeared that the accused were obeying their bail conditions for the time being and there did not appear to be a risk of tampering with evidence now that the primary witnesses had all testified.

The court pointed out that the racial hatred motive was yet to be proven and so it would be premature for the court to deny an accused person bail on this basis. The fear of public disorder had to be based on a real risk “not a phantom or hypothetical one.” After examining the definition of public disorder, the court said that this did not appear to have been the case as a result of the men’s release.

For this reason, the court dismissed the appeal and upheld the original bail conditions.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Kris Busietta are representing Scicluna, while lawyers Giannella de Marco and Stephen Tonna Lowell are representing Fenech.

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