The man just awarded a plea bargaining deal in exchange for evidence and who is set to testify in a major armed robbery trial had previously been convicted of falsifying evidence in an attempted murder case.

Darren Debono, known as it-Topo, last week reached a controversial deal with the attorney general over his involvement in an attempted armed robbery and shoot out back in 2010. 

He was handed a 10-year prison sentence for his role in the unsuccessful heist on the HSBC centre in Qormi.

The deal has raised eyebrows, with some questioning why the prosecution dropped an attempted murder charge against Debono. 

Times of Malta understands that he has agreed with prosecutors to give evidence against the other man accused of the attempted robbery, Vincent Muscat, known as il-Koħħu.

A look at Debono’s lengthy court history, however, may raise concerns about his dependability as a prosecution witness.

Five years ago, Debono was found guilty of having fabricated evidence and lying under oath. He was handed a suspended two-year jail sentence and a general interdiction – a ban from holding public office or employment – for 20 years. 

A general interdiction also prohibits the person from testifying, however, it makes a special exemption for court proceedings. 

At the time, he had admitted to taking a false oath and fabricating false evidence with the intent of implicating a third party in a crime involving attempted murder. 

Debono admitted to perjury in the case of Christopher Kokavessis, who was cleared of attempted murder in 2003.

Debono lied under oath during the compilation of evidence, in May 2000, and again in the trial by jury of Kokavessis, in October 2003.

That was far from his only brush with the law. In 2011, Debono received a prison sentence of two years and nine months following a conviction for cocaine possession.

Two years later, he was back in court and handed another jail term of five years after being found guilty of his involvement in an armed hold-up against the owner of a jewellery store in Attard.

In 2015, together with Alfred Degiorgio (il-Fulu) and Muscat, Debono was cleared of a 2004-armed robbery on importer Valhmor Borg, in Marsa.

Debono will now testify in the HSBC attempted robbery case on January 20 after the courts re-opened the compilation of evidence to hear his testimony.

Lawyers Edward Gatt and Mark Vassallo are appearing for Debono.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Roberto Montalto are appearing for Muscat.

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