Witness fined for spitting during case involving druglord’s girlfriend

A witness was fined €300 by the court for spitting during yesterday’s latest proceedings involving suspected drug kingpin Jordan Azzopardi’s girlfriend.

The culprit Luke Vella is understood to have spat on the floor of the court shortly after being told to leave the session until he was called to testify.

When he was asked to appear, Magistrate Doreen Clarke explained that the act was tantamount to contempt of court and therefore he incurred a fine.

The incident happened during the latest session in which evidence was being brought against suspected drug kingpin Jordan Azzopardi, and his girlfriend.

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The mother of five had allegedly offered one of the witnesses €20,000 in exchange for not testifying. She had previously been re-arrested last month.

Tempted by bribe

A ‘friend’ of the suspected druglord testified in court explaining that he was allegedly interested in taking the bribe.

Witness Jonathan Mangion explained that he had made a deposit of €4,800 on a vehicle from fellow witness Luke Vella. The vehicle had been seized by the police.

When demanding his deposit back, Mr Vella allegedly told Mangion to, “Tell Jordan to give me €10,000, and I’ll give you €5,000 out of that.”

During the previous session in June, it was presented that the rented premises in Pietà which Mr Vella had wished to turn into a ‘BnB’ were allegedly taken over Azzopardi as premises to store drugs. This was done which Mr Vella was in prison.

The sum of €10,000 was later doubled to €20,000.

Mr Vella then explained that he made the first step to approach Azzopardi’s girlfriend to get his €4,800 back, knowing Azzopardi was in prison at the time.

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Mangion explained that they were friends at the time with Vella allegedly telling Mangion to tell Jordan to give him €10,000 in order to not testify.

When Mangion did not receive his deposit back, his relationship with Mr Vella worsened. Mr Vella is alleged to have threatened and insulted Mangion. Mangion added that he did not speak with Jordan.

€100,000 for not testifying

According to Mr Vella’s testimony, the witness explained that when asked by third parties what he would like in order to not give evidence in court, he replied, “Tell him [I want] €100,000.”

Vella explained that he knew such a high sum could not be covered.

When asked about by Lawyer Franco Debono about the €4,800 deposit, Vella explained that Mangion had received his money back.

Then, when asked about not testifying, Vella explained that he wanted the money to cover the apartment in Pietà and that he still would’ve testified.

Vella’s initiative

During applications for bail were being considered Lawyer Dr Debono explained that the initiative for the alleged bribery hadn’t come from girlfriend of Azzopardi or Azzopardi himself, rather “it had been Vella’s initiative.”

A decision on bail was expected to be given in chambers.

The defence lawyer was Amadeus Cachia. Joining the prosecution was lawyer Anne-Marie Cutajar from the AG’s Office.

The case continues.