State witness Melvin Theuma was asked to find a horse vet to treat Darren Debono after he was shot trying to flee the HSBC headquarters after a failed hold-up in 2010.
Theuma was testifying in the compilation of evidence against Debono, known as it-Topo. The compilation of evidence has been reopened in order to hear Theuma’s testimony.
Theuma was granted a presidential pardon in 2019 to reveal all he knows about the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, as well as the 2007 hold-up of the HSBC branch in Balzan, the 2010 Casino di Venezia heist and the failed 2010 robbery of the HSBC headquarters.
The prosecution started by asking Theuma when the hold-up took place.
“When there was the Isle of MTV,” he replied, adding however that he could not remember the exact date.
He then described to the court how a month before the hold-up he was approached by Debono and asked if he had an apartment to rent. “Il-Fulu (Alfred Degiorgio) might have been with him, but I’m not certain. I can’t remember.”
“I rented them the apartment for about 300,” Theuma said, adding that the apartment was situated in Triq Anglu Gatt in Mosta.
He told the court that he had rented the men the apartment for a month and that it was Debono that had paid him.
He was then asked how he knew Debono. “I was once arrested and called someone to bring me a jacket because I was feeling cold in the lock-up. They borrowed Debono’s jacket and brought it to me. I then returned it to him after I was released and we remained friends,” he said.
Turning back to the day of the heist, Theuma said he had been out eating in Bugibba when he received a call from Degiorgio, who asked him to go to his Mosta flat.
Upon entering the apartment, Theuma said that he saw Debono with blood streaming down his thigh.
“I went up and there’s a bedroom as soon as you enter on the left. I found Darren Debono on the bed in his underwear and blood was streaming down his thigh,” he said.
“They asked me to help them because he had been shot,” he continued, adding that he believed the blood was coming from Debono’s face.
It was at this point, he said, that Degiorgio asked him to find a horse vet to treat him. He said that they had asked him because they knew he was into horses and knew people within those circles.
“I panicked and told them I’d see what I could do,” he said. “I then walked down and left and as soon as I did I saw a police car dashing past with the siren on.”
He said that he had not spoken to them again about the case after that moment, though they remained friends and would occasionally meet up.
Debono, together with Vince Muscat, and Fabio Psaila, have been charged over their alleged involvement in the crime.
Both Muscat and Debono were due to stand trial back in January but the trial was put off due to COVID-19 restrictions.
In May, a sitting was held before Giovanni Grixti for him to set a new date for the trial to begin, however, the parties in the case were informed that it was being put off indefinitely since the acts of the case had been sent to the inquiring magistrate who was going to hear a new witness, later revealed to be Theuma.
What do you make of this development?