22-year-old Lorin Scicluna of Paola and 21-year-old Francesco Fenech of Marsascala have pleaded not guilty to, among other charges, the murder of Lassine Cisse Souleymane, an Ivorian national.
Arraigned before Magistrate Josette Demicoli, both accused were charged with the murder of Ivorian Lassine Cisse Souleymane and with the attempted murder of two other persons, Ibrahim Bah from Guinea and Mohammed Jallaw from Gambia, as well as with the attempted murder of May Malini from Chad,which occurred on 1 February. The principal motive as written down on the charge sheet is that the murder and attempted murders were motivated by racial hatred.
Accused were also charged with discharging a firearm in an inhabited area, and with having been bound as public officers to ensure this crime was not committed. Another charge related to the killing of cats and birds, when the law lays down that they cannot act in this manner as they are not veterinarians, and with possession of an unlicenced weapon.
Lorin Scicluna was accused, on his own, with breaching bail conditions.
In the presence of parents and relatives and in a packed Courtroom, Inspector Keith Arnaud for the Prosecution explained that Lorin Scicluna was arrested two days ago and Francesco Fenech was arrested yesterday.
When Lorin Scicluna pleaded not guilty and stated that he was employed as a soldier, he broke down in tears, and his mother was also seen to be crying. Francesco Fenech also pleaded not guilty and stated that he was a soldier, with his relatives also seen to be in tears.
The Magistrate warned both accused that the charges carried life sentences. Defence did not request bail.
Lorin Scicluna is being assisted by Dr Julian Farrugia and Dr Chris Busietta, and Francesco Fenech is being assisted by Dr Giannella Demarco.