Liam Debono’s mother has gone public about her son’s troubled childhood after it was revealed in court that he had accused her of administering cannabis to him since he was nine years old to help him fall asleep.
In a tearful interview with One News, Charlotte Zammit denied the accusation, claiming her son told her he had made it up because he wanted to get back at her for taking his dog away from him.
“It hurts seeing my relatives needlessly suffering when they don’t know what the situation is,” she said. “I know [Liam] isn’t acting the way he is because he wants to but because he’s sick. He hurt me and I’m really angry at what he did and cannot bring myself to speak to him, but he’s still my son and I still love him.”
Liam Debono, 17, has been charged with the attempted murder of police officer Simon Schembri in a hit-and-run in Luqa last May, an incident that seriously injured Schembri to the extent that he had to amputate his arm.
Debono’s legal team, composed of Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia, are bringing attention to the teen’s troubled childhood and to the testimony of an eyewitness who said that Schembri had stepped in front of Debono’s car so as to stop him from fleeing the scene – a detail which could indicate he did not deliberately run him over.
Now Zammit has revealed details about Debono’s life, showing One News documents composed by his psychiatrist, his headmaster and social welfare agency Appoġġ from 2010, when Liam was only ten years old.
“Liam was a normal boy but suddenly rebelled to such an extent that neither myself nor any of my relatives could control him,” she said.
She recounted how psychiatrists had diagnosed a 10-year-old Liam with ADHD and prescribed him with medication for the condition. He used to take the pills at school too and a school nurse used to be assigned to him when he “acted impulsively”.
A letter from Debono’s old primary school dated March 2010 shows the young man had once escaped from school and had on several occasions expressed suicidal tendencies with his teacher and assistant heads.
Zammit’s interview comes on the same day as Debono’s legal team filed a judicial protest against the Attorney General to complain about President Marie-Louise Coleiro’s participation in a police march right after the hit-and-run. They are arguing that the President’s presence in the front row of the rally could prejudice the jurors who will eventually have to decide his fate.