A judge has confirmed a five-year jail term for a man who stabbed his elderly cousin in a “most savage” attack, throwing out his appeal that the incident was a result of sudden passion following years of provocation.

Raymond Debono was, two years ago, convicted of attempting to murder his cousin in September 2019, who was 74 years old when he stabbed him in the chest and stomach with a penknife.

Tensions appeared to have been long simmering between the parties.

But, that day, while the elderly man was walking down an alley on the way to his son’s house in Għargħur, he went past the accused’s residence in Sqaq il-Warda.

Debono was outside on the doorstep and, as his cousin made his way down, he suddenly went after him, drew a penknife out of his shorts pocket and stabbed the victim on the chest and stomach.

The incident was caught on CCTV footage.

The first court had ruled that the footage corroborated the version given by the victim who recounted how the accused had gone after him, threatening “I’ll kill you” before he whipped out his penknife and stabbed him repeatedly.

Debono, however, testified that the two had long been at loggerheads over some family property and that his cousin would spit at him whenever they crossed paths.

In fact, he claimed to have filed several police reports, one just days before the incident.

The injuries sustained by the victim were “life-threatening”. He required surgery since the stab wounds had punctured his abdomen, causing “evisceration of the intestines”, which were also perforated.

It took him six weeks to recover fully and he only made it thanks to the successful surgery, observed the first court, as it concluded that the attack had been premeditated.

Debono appealed his five-year effective jail term, asking the court to declare that the incident was a result of sudden passion following years of provocation by his cousin. He also asked the court to reduce the jail term after taking into consideration his age.

Presiding over the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice Neville Camilleri rubbished his arguments, noting that the claimed provocation, if anything, would have resulted in a verbal spat and not an attempted murder. His reaction was totally disproportionate and did not merit being upheld. Even his request to reduce the jail term was not sufficiently argued, the court said.

The court, however, noted that the two had since made up after the victim had forgiven Debono over the attack. It, therefore, revoked the €4,000 compensation order but confirmed the entire jail term and the order to pay court expenses related to the case, amounting to almost €21,000.

Superintendent Keith Arnaud and inspector Roderick Spiteri prosecuted.

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.