A construction worker fired a weapon after a driver flashed his lights at him in Xemxija early on Monday morning, a court has heard.

Police inspector Christian Cauchi charged Melvin Carmel Micallef, 32, with illegal possession of the weapon, firing the gun to scare the other driver and causing him to fear violence, breaching the peace and driving his BMW in a dangerous manner.

Micallef, from Lija, denied the charges when he appeared in court on Wednesday.

The inspector told Magistrate Joseph Mifsud that Emanuel Attard turned up at the Qawra police station alleging that the driver of a BMW driving in front of him fired a shot.

Attard told the police that the car was being driven erratically near the Xemxija roundabout just after midnight so he flashed his lights at him, causing the driver to pull to the side.

Dashcam footage

As Attard was overtaking, he realised that the driver had a pistol in his hand out of the window and fired a shot. The shot was not fired in the direction of the other driver, which is why the man was not charged with attempted murder.

The inspector said the police saw dashcam footage where the hand with the firearm out of the window could easily be seen. However, it was a complicated process for the police to identify the driver because while the BMW was registered under the name of Keith Sultana, an auto dealer from Zabbar, it had changed hands six times. None of these transfers had been registered according to law.

The inspector said the police did not find the weapon and the accused did not reply to any of the questions put to him. The magistrate accepted the prosecution’s request for a gunshot residue test to be taken and this was carried out in the courtroom by members of the police forensics team.

Questioned by lawyers Franco Debono and Shaun Zammit, the inspector said the accused was arrested 21 hours after the alleged incident. He also admitted that only the person’s hand could be seen in the footage that police had in their possession. There was no evidence linking the footage to the accused other than the registration plate of the BMW that was involved in the incident.

Magistrate Mifsud upheld a request for bail against a deposit of €3,000 and a €17,000 personal guarantee. He also ordered Micallef to sign the bail book twice a week and be indoors between 10pm and 5am the following morning.

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