Magistrate Joe Mifsud has abstained from presiding over the case of a Serbian man accused of a 2018 murder.

The magistrate made the decision because he had led the inquiry during the most recent developments that resulted in Aleksandr Stojanovic's arrest.

Stojanovic, who lives in Safi, is accused of murdering father-of-two Walid Salah Abdel Motaleb Mohammed, who was found dead in a remote field in Għarb, Gozo, on January 22, 2018.

Police said investigators established that the accused was with the victim within hours of the killing.

Stojanovic, 42, was charged before magistrate Simone Grech in the Gozo courts on Wednesday evening and his case was assigned to magistrate Mifsud through a ballot by the court registrar. 

However, the magistrate immediately abstained from hearing the case since he had been assigned the magisterial inquiry when this was reassigned to a different magistrate by the Chief Justice earlier this month. The magisterial inquiry was previously being held by magistrate Monica Vella but was reassigned since it had been dormant for some time. 

New magistrate

In his abstention decree, magistrate Mifsud said he had closed the inquiry and chaired its latest developments, including sworn testimony and other documented evidence presented by court experts. 

It is now understood that the case will be heard in the Gozo court on May 28 before Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech.

Stojanovic was arrested on May 10. The police managed to trace the car which had allegedly been used by Stojanovic on the day of the crime. He was identified driving this BMW through CCTV footage around Gozo. 

The car had since been sold and the police traced its new owners and managed to trace the person who had sold him the car. 

The victim was found lying on the ground with two shotgun wounds, one on the left side of the neck and the other in the centre of his chest. The murder weapon has not yet been found. 

Police superintendent Keith Arnaud told the court on Wednesday that the police had identified two important witnesses in the past weeks who corroborated CCTV footage.

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.