UPDATED: Bojan Cmelik sentenced to life imprisonment for murder of Hugo Chetcuti
With a Jury verdict of eight votes in favour and one against, Bojan Cmelik, 39, has been found guilty of the homicide of Hugo Chetcuti after the Jury produced this verdict following six hours of deliberation.
Judge Aaron Bugeja sentenced him to life imprisonment and ordered that he be placed in a solitary cell.
The Jury began their deliberations at about 12.15pm on Wednesday afternoon and announced their verdict at about 6.15pm. The members of the jury were unanimous in finding him guilty of violently resisting arrest and of being in possession of a weapon without licence.
Chetcuti, who was aged 52, died on 12th July in 2018 after six days earlier he had been stabbed three times with a knife outside one of his Paceville establishments.
Cmelik had spent some time employed in one of Chetcuti’s establishments but was dismissed after arguing with colleagues.
In this Jury Hearing conducted by Judge Aaron Bugeja, the Prosecution was led by lawyers Dr Kevin Valletta and Dr Maria Francesca Spiteri from the Attorney General’s Office.
Cmelik was defended by Dr Simon Micallef Stafrace while lawyers Dr Joseph Giglio and Dr Mario Spiteri appeared as parte civile representing the Chetcuti family.
Who was Hugo Chetcuti?
Chetcuti was a successful entrepreneur with a chain of entertainment venues and hotels which all bore his name – Hugo. Chetcuti had started his business in the 80s with the opening of the first establishment, ‘Footloose’ in Paceville. He eventually began to open more establishments not only for entertainment but was also a pioneer in the local hospitality industry.
A few days before his death he had come out with the concept of opening establishments and hotels which carry his name, with the intention of offering a wider choice of food outlets, bars and hotels which offer the best facilities and high quality services in a unique style for local and foreign clients. He built this chain of establishments with his siblings Sheryl and Isaac, as well as his son Luke, who has followed in his father’s footsteps.
It was in fact on the day when he was inaugurating another of his venues that the entrepreneur was stabbed by Bojan Cmelik (who was 35 at the time). The Serbian man was arrested shortly after he attacked Chetcuti and was arraigned around 12 hours later. Cmelik pleaded not guilty to the charge of the attempted murder of Chetcuti and has been held in custody at the Corradino Correctional Facility since then. He will now spend the rest of his life behind bars after being found guilty of murdering Chetcuti.
Hugo had spent a few days in the ITU after undergoing surgery on being admitted to hospital due to his serious stab wounds, and was in danger of dying. Although his condition stabilised for a while, all efforts to save his life proved fruitless and he was pronounce dead six days later due to his very grievous injuries.