Malta
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Karl Vella Petroni jailed for a year over Mellieħa roundabout crash in 2019

A man accused of killing two motorcycle riders while drunk driving on the opposite side of a Mosta road in May, was handed a one-year jail term over a separate traffic accident four years ago. 

Karl Vella Petroni is currently out on bail but prohibited from driving while proceedings over the recent incident on Triq iz-Żejfa are ongoing. Faizan Muhammed and Ali Abbas, who were riding a motorbike to work at around 5.50am, were both killed upon impact

Vella Petroni is pleading not guilty.

But while those proceedings continue, Vella Petroni faced separate charges over another drunk driving episode that took place in March 2019. 

According to the charges presented in court, on March 3, 2019, at around 7pm, the accused crashed his vehicle into a Mellieħa roundabout. 

He was subsequently accused of driving under the influence and was found with an alcohol level above the prescribed legal limits.

He was also charged with racking up €846 in damages when he crashed into the turf shrubs, electronic equipment and the kerb to the detriment of Environmental Landscapes Consortium Ltd.

He was allegedly driving with an expired licence and was charged with recidivism.

When delivering judgment on Monday, the court, presided over by Magistrate Yana Micallef Stafrace, observed that the number of the vehicle indicated on the breathalyser test did not match that cited in the charges. 

Since clear evidence produced by the prosecution with respect to the breathalyser test did not clearly indicate the number of the vehicle involved in the incident, the first two charges concerning drunk driving were not proved. 

As for the damages caused to the roundabout, the court observed that the quotation produced by the ELC representative did not indicate the date of the incident. 

The quotation was dated March 13 but did not mention the date of the relative incident.

That date could not be confirmed by ELC’s general manager who presented the quotation in court. 

Thus, the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt when the damages to the roundabout had been caused as a result of the incident involving Vella Petroni. 

Nor had the prosecution produced any evidence to prove the charge of recidivism. 

The only charge proved beyond reasonable doubt was that at the time of the crash, the vehicle was not covered by a valid licence, concluded the court, declaring Vella Petroni guilty of that charge and condemning him to a one-year effective jail term. 

The court also imposed a one-year driving ban that was to run once the accused had served punishment. 

Inspector Charlotte Curmi prosecuted.