Six out of seven statements give by one of the accused in the murder of Simone Grech back in 2005 have been confirmed to be inadmissible by the Appeals Court.
Despite the murder having taken place over 16 years ago, the trial against the two accused has not yet begun.
Grech was reported missing on 5th April 2005 with her body eventually being found in a Marsa field a week later. An autopsy showed Grech to have been stabbed 17 times.
Libyan national Ismael Habesh and Tunisian national Faical Mahouachi have been charged with her murder and are waiting to stand trial before a jury.
In pre-trial proceedings, Habesh insisted that statements he had given to the police after Grech’s disappearance were not admissible in court given that he had not been assisted by a lawyer.
At the time, anyone detained by the police did not have an automatic right to legal assistance. The right was only introduced in 2010, and has seen many alleged criminals walk free because statements they had given to the police have been thrown out by the courts.
The request was accepted by the Criminal Court but the decision was appealed by the Attorney General. Now, the Appeals Court, presided over by Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti and judges Giovanni Grixti and Edwina Grima, have confirmed the first court’s decision.
The judges observed that six out of seven statements given to the police by Habseh had been given without a lawyer present. Moreover, the judges noted that the statements had been taken before Grech’s body was found and Habesh had not been informed that he was being investigated for murder.
Grech’s body had been found in a field close to the Marsa roundabout known as Is-Salib tal-Marsa, with friends of hers saying at the time at Grech and Habesh were in a relationship.
It appears that Grech wanted Habesh to leave his wife for her. Habesh, however, appears to have not wanted to leave his wife, given that his legal right to reside in Malta derived from his marriage with her.
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