A man part of a trio accused of being behind a failed HSBC heist has pleaded guilty.
Darren ‘it-Topo’ Debono pleaded guilty Wednesday evening during an urgent sitting in court. He is expected to be given a 10 and a half year prison sentence tomorrow morning as part of his plea. An attempted homicide charge was dropped.
His admission comes just one day before a trial by jury for hitman-for-hire Vince ‘il-Koħħu’ Muscat. Following his plea, Debono will now be testifying as a witness.
The long-awaited trial has already proven controversial.
A police constable who was involved in a shootout with fleeing robbers outside the HSBC headquarters in 2010 has asked the courts to allow him not to testify because of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder he still suffers as a result.
He had described to the court how he saw three men dressed in suits and wearing wigs leaving the building after suspicious activity was reported.
He ended up in a shootout with the three robbers until reinforcements arrived.
Despite the crime having taken place almost 12 years ago, Muscat’s trial is only due to start now with serious questions raised about the manner in which the case was handled.
Muscat has admitted to his role in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia as well as that of Carmel Chircop in February and has since requested two presidential pardons in relation to the HSBC case.
Muscat has promised to reveal the identity of a sitting and former minister who he says were involved in the botched heist.
His co-accused in the Caruana Galizia assassination, Alfred and George Degiorgio have both filed a similar request, even naming the two as former Economy Minister Chris Cardona and OPM Minister Carmelo Abela in a letter they sent to the European Commission.
It was recently revealed that Lawyers Franco Debono and Roberto Montalto had taken Muscat on as a client and will be defending him in the trial which is set to start this week.
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