Current Affairs
The prisoner who was serving a life-sentence for complicity in the murder of Gozo warden found dead in his prison cell

An elderly prisoner was was found guilty by the Court of complicity in the murder of Gozo warden- a crime committed over eighteen years ago – was found dead in his prison cell at 6.30am this morning. The prisoner, 72 year old Ganni Attard, from Xaghra, was serving a life sentence. Sources who were privy to the autopsy said that Attard had died of heart disease.

Prison Authorities were alerted to this when the prisoner failed to respond to the morning roll call. He was certified dead by a medical doctor.

The trial took place ten years ago and Attard was convicted of complicity in the murder of warden Fortunata Spiteri on 10 August 2001. Attard was a bus driver at the time. The evidence established that the warden was stabbed five times in the road which leads from Rabat to Gharb where the warden was on duty because of the feast of San Lawrenz.

Ganni Attard was the second person convicted of complicity in the murder of a local warden in the performance of her duties. Benny Attard was also sentenced to 30 years imprisonment after he registered an admission in lieu of standing trial for his participation in the murder. He also died while serving the sentence. Another man suspected of having a role in the murder died before proceedings against him were concluded.

Although Benny Attard’s testimony had indicated Ganni as the mastermind behind the murder after he alleged that the warden had singled him out and would give him several citations, he was not found guilty of that charge but of complicity . The trial judge, now retired Judge Michael Mallia, had given him the maximum sentence life imprisonment. In his judgment, the judge said that Ganni Attard had spent his life challenging the authorities and had never learned from his mistakes. In his youth, Attard has already spent four years in prison after he was found guilty of seriously injuring his father with a shotgun in a dispute he had with his brother, which wound had led to his father’s death.

The prison authorities immediately informed the police of Ganni Attard’s death who immediately launched their own investigation into the death. The death of the prisoner is also being investigated by an inquiry being conducted by Magistrate Joe Mifsud and other internal inquiry. Sources said there was no indication that the death was suspicious, with the autopsy confirming that he died due to heart disease.

The Nationalist Party stated that prison should not be the place where inmates die, but a place for a real reform.

The Opposition’s spokesperson on national security, Beppe Fenech Adami, said in a statement that this is the eight death of an inmate in prison in less than two years and insisted that the whole truth is revealed. He requested an account is given on how and why these deaths occurred and whether they could have been avoided.

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