Justice minister Owen Bonnici sued for damages by car crash victim

Alies Abdulhadi demands financial compensation from Owen Bonnici for injuries sustained when the justice minister crashed into his car in Santa Venera two years ago 

Justice minister Owen Bonnici exits the courts after being acquitted of negligent driving in October 2014
Justice minister Owen Bonnici exits the courts after being acquitted of negligent driving in October 2014

Justice minister Owen Bonnici will be hauled up to court by a man he had injured in a car crash two years ago.

Alies Abdulhadi is demanding compensation from the minister for the injuries he had sustained – which he says amounts to a 12% disability – after his insurance agency refused to pay up, the Times of Malta has reported.

The car crash occurred on 3 April 2014 outside the Santa Venera tunnels at around 9pm. Upon driving out of the tunnels, Bonnici crashed his Hyundai I20 into Abdulhadi’s Daewoo Matiz, which was parked near the pavement. Abdulhadi said that his car was pushed forward, that he was thrown into the air, and that he broke his leg when it landed between his vehicle and the one parked in front of it.

The courts in October 2014 acquitted Bonnici of causing a traffic accident through negligent driving and of grievously injuring a motorist, after ruling that “there was not enough sufficient evidence to prove the charges”.

Testifying, Alies Abdulhadi told the court that at around 8:30pm, his car stopped just outside the St Venera tunnels and he subsequently phoned his brother for help. He arrived on the scene some 15 minutes later. 

“My brother then arrived on the scene, and parked his van in front of me. We opened the bonnet, switched on the hazard lights, and tried to start the car,” he said.

“The last thing I remember is my brother telling me ‘Arem, Arem’ (look out), and a few moments later I was on the ground. I did not hear any brakes, it happened so fast,” Abdulhadi said.

Seconding his brother's testimony, Josef Abdulhadi told the court upon impact, he saw his brother go up in the air and landing around one and a half metres away from the car. The victim was then hospitalised.

Moreover, Abdulhadi said that he did not hear any “screeching brakes,” – a claim echoed by Bonnici who insisted that “he was so surprised to see a car parked there, that he did not engage the brakes on the car.”

Testifying, the minister said that he “did not exceed the speeding limit as there was a speed camera,” but nevertheless argued that he was not driving slowly as it was a main road.

“I heard a thump. I almost fainted in the aftermath of the incident, especially when I saw the injured person on the ground,” he said.
Moreover, Bonnici claimed that the cars’ hazard lights and headlamps were not on.

The Opposition had back then called on Bonnici to suspend himself as justice minister until the case was heard. 

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