Not guilty of girl’s death in Vittoriosa as she had crossed without warning
A 43-year-old man has been found not guilty of causing the death of a 15-year-old girl in an accident which took place four and a half years ago in front of the Cottonera Sports Complex.
On the morning of 21 September 2013 Ludovick Bartolo was driving his car, a Toyota Vitz, along Triq il-Kottonera. He was on his way to work, and had his nine-year-old son in the car as he was taking the boy to a football lesson.
15-year-old Sarah Farrugia and her nine-year-old brother Luke, who was also on his way to a football lesson, were walking along the same road.
Bartolo stated in Court that he had been proceeding at less than 40 km per hour, when he suddenly noticed a young person with a yellow top in front of him. Bartolo steered to the right to avoid the person, heard a noise against the car, and stopped.
When Bartolo got out of the car he was faced with a very ugly scene. The boy was on the ground, but immediately got to his feet. The girl, howver, was lying face down and with a head wound. Unfortunately Sarah succumbed to her injuries in hospital the following day.
Although the Proecution stated that Bartolo’s brakes were not functioning properly, technical experts appointed by the Court declared that the car was working normally.
The experts stated that the children had been hit when they stepped off the pavement to cross the road in front of the bus shelter. The pelican lights 26 metres away were functioning normally. The experts were of the opinion that the bus shelter and the thick trees had obstructed the view.
The Court, Magistrate Audrey Demicoli presiding, concluded that there had been no carelessness on Bartolo’s part, and neither was there evidence that he had not observed traffic regulations.
The Court stated that it was the children who had not used the traffic lights and had crossed suddenly, and for this reason Bartolo could not be held criminally responsible for the girl’s death.
Bartolo was represented by lawyers Veronique Dalli and Franco Debono.
This video from TVM archives shows scenes from the fatal accident: