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Two Years On, Lawyers Wait For Jury Trial In Hugo Chetcuti Murder After COVID-19 Delays Proceedings

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Two years on, lawyers are waiting for a new date for the trial against the man charged with murdering Hugo Chetcuti, one of Malta’s best-known entrepreneurs.

Speaking to Lovin Malta, parte civile lawyer Joe Giglio said that a trial was initially set for April, but COVID-19 restrictions delayed the hearing.

Legal parties are currently waiting for Judge Edwina Grima to set a date for the trial. With the courts only just starting to open up and summer recess set to begin, it remains to be seen when the trial will begin.

Chetcuti died in hospital after he was stabbed by Bojan Cmelik, a Serbian national and a former Hugo’s Group employee with a history of armed robbery in his home country, in Paceville in July 2018. No motive has been established for the murder.

On 7th July 2018, Hugo Chetcuti invited his relatives and managers to sample the menu of a new seafood restaurant he was about to open on the Paceville steps.

At around 10pm, Chetcuti went out for a cigarette, along with his brother Isaac, his sister Sheryl, his security guard/bodyguard James Farrugia and Hugo’s Group project manager Simon Attard. Chetcuti’s sister and his bodyguard soon left to visit a nearby establishment.

It was at this moment that Cmelik, wearing a straw hat, approached Hugo Chetcuti, who was sitting on a stool, and shouted out his name. Chetcuti extended his arm, assuming the man wanted to hug him but, after putting his hand around the entrepreneur’s neck, Cmelik stabbed him twice in the stomach and ran away.

He was eventually apprehended in Sliema and there have been claims that murder was premeditated, even though Chetcuti had little idea of who the man was.

Cmelik is pleading not guilty and has maintained his refusal to give police a reason as to why he stabbed Chetcuti. At one point, L-Orizzont quoted police sources as stating that the murder could have been a contract killing orchestrated by the Balkan mafia, but police played down this rumour.

An old acquaintance of Cmelik’s revealed to Lovin Malta that the man’s real name was actually Bojan Mitić and that he had been jailed in Serbia for his role in an armed robbery on a van in Belgrade back in 2005.

According to a Serbian news report, Mitić and two other men had boarded the van after receiving inside information of its movements, threatened the driver with an automatic rifle and a pistol, and made off with six million dinar (€50,828) in cash and transport passes worth 10 million dinar (€84,678). The other six suspects were arrested and a manhunt was launched for Mitić, who was eventually arrested and jailed.

Hopefully, the trial will shed some light on the motive behind this brutal murder.

What do you think about the latest developments? Comment below

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