Updated: Sandro Chetcuti not guilty of greviously injuring Vince Farrugia
Property developer Sandro Chetcuti was this morning found not guilty of seriously injuring GRTU director general Vince Farrugia three years ago when he allegedly assaulted him at the association’s offices.
Mr Chetcuti was originally charged with the attempted murder of Mr Farrugia in 2010 but the Attorney General dropped the murder charge last year leaving assault with intent to cause serious injury as the most serious charge.
Mr Chetcuti was found guilty of having injured slightly Mr Farrugia and was condemned to a one month jail term suspended for one year.
A €1,000 protection order was also issued and Mr Farrugia was ordered not to speak to Mr Chetcuti.
The verdict was delivered today by Magistrate Edwina Grima who also ordered the Police Commissioner to investigate anyone who testified falsely during the proceedings.
The court noted, among other things, that even before the court procedures started, Mr Farrugia tried to use his influential position to ensure that Mr Chetcuti faced a trial by the media. Evidence of SMS messages and other contacts showed that he had contacted journalists and even vetted articles and comments in the press.
Mr Farrugia had tried to influence people in authority who could help him in this Case, including the Police Commissioner and the Prison Director while Mr Chetcuti was under preventive arrest. All this raised serious doubts as to what had really happened when Mr Farrugia and Mr Chetcuti met on March 11, 2010.
During final submissions on the case, Edward Gatt, the lawyer representing Mr Chetcuti accused Mr Farrugia of blatantly lying under oath. Dr Gatt said Mr Farrugia had initially said he was hit at least 10 times on the face but later increased the number up to 15 and 20 times.
GRTU officials Philip Fenech, Paul Abela and Joe Attard, who walked in after Ms Agius, said they saw Mr Farrugia being kicked, which was not true.
Dr Gatt referred to the testimony of Sylvia Gauci who clearly said that she had been asked to testify that Mr Farrugia was being kicked and that Mr Chetcuti was telling Mr Farrugia 'I will kill you'. This was not true, the lawyer said.