Liam Debono (left) has been charged with the attempted murder of PC Simon Schembri (right, with police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar)
Details of the troubled life of the 17 year-old boy charged with the attempted murder of police officer Simon Schembri in a hit-and-run in Luqa emerged in court today.
Inspector Malcolm Bondin testified that police had found cannabis and two grinders in Liam Debono’s possession when they arrested him last June. The accused told police officers that he ingests between three to four grammes of cannabis on a daily basis and had been taking the drug since he was only nine years old when his mother used to administer it to him to help him fall asleep.
Debono has been charged with the attempted murder of Schembri, who he ran over shortly after trying to escape him. Court testimony shows that Schembri had approached Debono’s car due to its dark tinted windows and then found out the underage driver was not wearing a seatbelt and had no licensed documentation on him. Debono drove off as Schembri was calling the police control room, running over the policeman in the process and seriously injuring him to the extent that he had to amputate the arm.
However, Debono’s defence team – spearheaded by lawyer Franco Debono – is arguing that the teenager did not deliberately run over Schembri. His lawyers have placed a lot of emphasis on the testimony of a witness, who testified that Schembri had stepped in front of the car when it began moving in an attempt to stop it.
The hit-and-run incident sparked widespread outrage in Malta, including a historic rally in favour of the police force, which President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca attended, an unusual move for a sitting President.