House arrest for youth charged with causing death of Dutch youth in St Julians
The youth who allegedly knocked down a Dutch youth when the latter was walking with friends in St Julians and died two days later at Mater Dei hospital, was arraigned in Court today.
20-year-old Michael Caruana Turner of Birkirkara pleaded not guilty to the charges. In Court he is facing charges which include the involuntary manslaughter of Dutch youth Tim Scholten, and of slightly injuring five other foreign youths. Other charges relate to dangerous driving and driving under the influence of drink.
Accused’s family – his mother, father and two siblings, a youth and a girl – were present in the Courtroom. Defence lawyer Joe Giglio requested bail for the youth.
Senior Inspector Trevor Micallef stated that the youth was being arraigned today as one of the victims had still been alive in the ITU, and for this reason he would not have been able to re-arraign the youth if the grievously injured person died. Which was why accused had been given Police bail.
It emerged in Court that the youth had been in Paceville on the night of 6 July, and had been on his way to his grandmother’s house. He had been using his vehicle which is high-powered, but he had been drunk and had hit the pavement when driving, and as a consequence knocked down eight persons including one who later died, besides causing damage to various items.
The youth was sorry for his actions, and was very emotional in the Courtroom, with Defence Counsel arguing that prison was no place for the youth, who also suffers from dyslexia, and requesting the Court that the youth should not be sent to prison, as this would be better for him.
Defence stated there was no doubt this was a very tragic case for everyone, and was an unfortunate accident. Dr Giglio added that this was a fatal mistake, for which the youth would continue to pay for the rest of his life.
Regarding bail, Dr Giglio said the Court should consider whether there is a valid reason for refusing bail. Dr Giglio argued that accused lives and works in Malta, and there was no fear of tampering with evidence, as all witnesses had alrready been heard by the Court expert. Defence Counsel added that accused also had a clean record.
Defence Counsel stated that when the Police informed him that one of the victims had died, the youth declared in his statement that he was broken-hearted, and could never forgive himself for killing the youth. He said the youth had gone to a psychologist, and the Inspector himself had stated that the youth’s place was not in prison.
Magistrate Joe Mifsud stated that 4.00 a.m. was no time for youths to be out of the house, as when one stays out that long, one consumes more alcohol, resulting in situations where the mind does not allow for proper functioning. Magistrate Mifsud added that speed kills, and referred to the speed limit in Malta, which is 80 km per hour.
The Magistrate reiterated that pedestrians have a right to return to their homes safe and sound, and remorse after the act is pointless. Such things are not permitted. The Magistrate added that there is too much laxity in the country, and everyone has to assume responsibility. The Magistrate emphasised that unless proper discipline is enforced, we will continue to have deaths on the roads.
Magistrate Mifsud declared that he wanted to create a balance – he would keep accused indoors but not in prison. Accused would be under house arrest and cannot go out except for medical appointments and to sign at Birkirkara Police Station three times a week between 8.00 a.m. and 8.00 p.m.
The Court further ordered that accused cannot change his address, and that he is to pay a deposit of 2,000 euro and a personal guarantee of 10,000 euro. Furthermore, pending another decision, the youth will not be allowed to drive.
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