Simon Grech’s macabre murder: 6 out of 7 statements by the accused will not be heard by the jury

Three Judges have not upheld the request by the Attorney General for the jury in the Simon Grech murder trial to hear the statements given by one of the two men accused of the crime to the Police when the victim was still missing.

Ismael Habesh from Libya and Faical Mahouachi from Tunisia are charged with killing 20-year-old Grech, 16 years ago in Marsa and are waiting to be tried for this murder.

Grech’s disappearance was reported on 5 April with the corpse found in a field on 13 April. From the autopsy it was established that the victim had been killed after being stabbed by a knife 17 times.

The homicide occurred when the victim was allegedly loitering for purposes of prostitution, and was approached by the two accused. In Court it was stated that Habesh had a relationship with the victim and on that day they started arguing and he assaulted the victim. The other accused was in the car, and he allegedly came out to help his friend. The two accused are charged with carrying Grech to the field, and then stabbing him 17 times with a knife.

They are being charged with Grech’s murder and of having a knife without a permit on their possession. Habesh alone is also charged with driving a stolen Ford Escort. When the legal points started being heard before the trial started, Habesh complained to the Criminal Court that when he was interrogated by the Police he had not been assisted by a lawyer.

The Criminal Court upheld the argument but the AG appealed the decision. However, the Chief Justice and Judges Edwina Grima and Giovanni Grixti did not uphold the Attorney General’s appeal.

They pointed out that in six out of the seven statements which Habesh gave to the Police they did not give him the right to speak to a lawyer, because this right had not yet been introduced.

The three Judges remarked that the statements were taken when the victim was still missing and the accused had not been informed that he was under investigation for the murder, as happened before his last statement.

They therefore confirmed the decision that the jury could hear the last statement made in 2013 but could not listen to the other six statements made to the Police between 2005 and 2009.