Mqabba murder: Victim refuses to testify against accused

Vince Saviour Gaffarena Mqabba Ħal Millieri

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

A shooting victim considered to be a star witness in the proceedings against two teenagers who stand accused of murdering Saviour Gaffarena (27) and attempted murder of Vince Gaffarena (17), has chosen to remain silent on Thursday.

The shooting took place on 29 July in Mqabba.

Vince Gaffarena was turned away from court last Thursday after he was found to have a high temperature.

On Thursday, the witness declined to testify to avoid incriminating himself.

Inspector Kurt Zahra informed the court that the witness must be cautioned as he was the subject of a criminal investigation.

Gaffarena testified via video-conferencing. He told the court that he did not wish to testify after he was cautioned that his testimony could incriminate him.

The shooting victim also declined to testify on things which could not incriminate him following a request by Superintendent Keith Arnaud.

Arnaud maintained that the witness could decline answering particular questions. However defence lawyer Arthur Azzopardi stated that all questions must be made to the witness. This was supported by defence lawyer Giannella De Marco who is appearing for the other accused.

The parties agreed to present notes to allow the prosecution to clarify its position and request. The court said that the defence and the witness can the table their replies.

After several exchanges, the parties agreed to present notes to allow the prosecution to clarify its position and request. The defence and the witness can then table their replies, said the court.

On Thursday a number of police officers took the witness stand.

Among those who testified was Superintendent Josric Mifsud who told the court that he was dispatched to the scene after the police received information about a shooting victim being found inside a car at around 10.45pm.

The police officer says that the medical team treated Vince Gaffarena for gunshot wounds as Saviour Gaffarena appeared to be dead.

Vince Gaffarena could not speak and was given a piece of paper and a pen by a woman police constable at the scene. He wrote down the names of the two men accused with Mifsud being an eyewitness.

Mifsud was tipped off on where the pistol used in the crime was hidden. The ammunition was recovered during searches in a water tank.

The court will decree on bail from chambers after the legal team led by Arthur Azzopardi appearing for one the accused filed an application.

The Attorney General objected saying that there witnesses still to testify as well as due to the serious nature of the charges.

Azzopardi told the court that all evidence had already been gathered.

Inspector Kurt Zahra opposed the request saying that there is the danger of evidence being tampered with.

Superintendents Keith Arnaud and Josric Mifsud together with Police Inspector Kurt Zahra are leading the prosecution.

Lawyers Giannella De Marco, Arthur Azzopardi and Alfred Abela are appearing for the accused.

Lawyers James D’Agostino and Mark Refalo are appearing for the victims.

Lawyer Noel Bianco appeared for Vince Gaffarena.