Justice Minister Jonathan Attard has reacted to photos published by Lovin Malta indicating that alleged murderer Justin Borg went to Italy to watch a Champion’s League football match while out on bail.
Answering questions brought forward by Lovin Malta, the Minister condemned the event, stating that he believes “situations of the nature referred to are unacceptable”.
“Without prejudice to the case referred to in your article which is pending before the Courts, and in full respect to the independence of the judiciary and the presumption of innocence, as the Minister responsible for Justice, I personally believe that situations of the nature referred to are unacceptable,” Minister Attard told Lovin Malta.
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“To some extent, such situations are also related to court delays which tend to allow complacency to settle in and to strengthen the case for the relaxation of bail conditions. This is not right,” Attard continued.
“The case in question is in the compilation of evidence phase. As announced recently, the government is currently finalising its proposals for the compilation of evidence procedure reform, and a draft Bill has been prepared with a view to the reform being discussed in Parliament in the first half of the coming year,” he continued.
“One of the main aims of the reform is to ensure that the time in which the compilation of evidence is concluded and the case proceeds to trial will be substantially reduced through the introduction of fixed time limits. This is being done in the best interest of justice.”
“In addition, another Criminal Court Hall will be made available to the Judiciary so that the process of administration of criminal justice which is also impacted by physical space limitations at the Law Courts will be made more expeditious.”
Attard was among many in the public sphere who reacted with condemnation after Lovin Malta revealed that the man accused of murdering Maltese mother Chantelle Chetcuti’s went to Milan, Italy to watch a Champions League football match between Chelsea and Milan this October.
During this trip, Borg also uploaded selfies with football legends such as Paolo Maldini as well as romantic snaps win front of Milan’s famous Duomo.
When Lovin Malta reached out to Borg with questions, he deleted his social media accounts.
A legal expert told Lovin Malta that while someone who is on bail is banned from leaving the country, the courts can grant them express permission to go on holiday.
The courts tend to base their decision on the level of risk that the accused could abscond, taking into account factors such as whether they had abided by their previous bail conditions so far, whether they had purchased a return ticket, and the country they intend to visit.
Borg is currently awaiting trial after pleading not guilty to murdering his 34-year-old ex-partner and the mother of his two daughters.
Borg had handed himself in to the police covered in blood and with drugs on his person shortly after stabbing Chetcuti in the head.
The murder weapon, a knife, had remained stuck inside the victim’s head after the attack. Chetcuti later succumbed to her injuries days later while receiving treatment in the hospital.
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