Malta
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Roderick Cassar's fourth attempt for bail is denied

Roderick Cassar’s fourth attempt for bail has been turned down, with a judge saying that he could not be trusted.

Cassar stands charged with murdering his estranged wife and mother of his two children, Bernice last November 22 at 8am.

The murder took place just outside her workplace at Corradino when Cassar allegedly shot his wife using an unlicensed weapon and fled the scene, holing himself up inside his home for 17 hours, refusing to surrender and comply with police orders.

His previous attempt for bail – the third one – had also failed earlier in September.

On that occasion, the court, presided over by Mr Justice Neville Camilleri, expressed doubts as to whether Cassar would abide by court conditions if he were to be granted bail.

In submissions before the Criminal Court on Wednesday, his lawyers insisted that their client satisfied all bail requirements and should be granted bail.

But in a decree on Thursday, Madam Justice Edwina Grima disagreed that this was the case, ruling that nothing had changed since the court last denied his fresh request for bail.

She said it seemed that Cassar was still suffering from the same emotional problems he had when he was arrested by the police almost a year ago.

She noted that according to his key worker, who is following him in prison according to the care plan that was prepared for him, Cassar was still very anxious and reserved, refusing to show his emotions externally.

The psychological assistant, who first got to know the accused when he was remanded in custody after the murder told the court on Wednesday about Cassar’s anxiety which is still evident, becoming more manifest ahead of a court hearing.

Like all inmates admitted to Corradino Correctional Facility, Cassar was assessed and a care plan was tailored to his needs. He was also referred to an experienced psychologist.

Throughout these months, Cassar had no disciplinary reports and never got into any trouble with fellow inmates, she confirmed.

When asked by Judge Grima how the accused externalised his anxiety, the witness said Cassar would break out in a sweat as court hearings approached and he grew more distant, retreating inside his cell.

However, he had registered progress, requesting a session with the psychologist when the need arose and opening up about his problems. He appeared to be mostly concerned about his court case, his parents’ health, and his children.

Referring to the testimony of one of Cassar’s relatives that he was willing to step in as third-party guarantor, having the necessary financial resources to cover the relative bail bond, even up to €100,000, Madam Justice Grima said this was not enough for Cassar to be granted bail.

She disagreed with arguments in favour of the accused’s trustworthiness, saying that Cassar did not offer the court enough peace of mind that he will follow bail conditions if released from bail.

It was true that the compilation of evidence over the murder of Bernice Cassar has reached an advanced stage but this was not enough for him to be released from prison.

Lawyers Angele Vella and Darlene Grima are prosecuting.  Lawyers Franco Debono, Arthur Azzopardi, Marion Camilleri and Jacob Magri are defence counsel. Lawyers Stefano Filletti, Marita Pace Dimech, Anne Marie Cutajar and Rodianne Sciberras are appearing parte civile.