A man who killed his partner by stabbing her 49 times in 2004 has been convicted of slashing a prisoner in one of his eyes in the waiting room of the prison clinic.

The incident happened on June 1, 2010 when David Norbert Schembri attacked and injured Noel Borg.

Borg instituted court proceedings against both Schembri and the prisons administration, and the court found in his favour, ordering them to pay him a total of €62,387 in compensation.

The court heard that the two prisoners had been previously involved in an argument and came to blows. Borg subsequently asked to be moved from the division where he was kept, fearing for his safety.

Nonetheless, the two met in the hospital’s sick bay and Schembri slashed him with a blade taped to a cigarette lighter, seriously injuring his left eye. The blade had been supplied by the prison authorities for shaving purposes.  

The prison authorities denied responsibility, claiming that the assault could not have been foreseen since Schembri had not been involved in any serious violent incident with other prisoners before. Furthermore, the incident happened in a flash before the prison guards who were nearby could intervene.

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The authorities insisted that Schembri was solely responsible for the incident and for the injuries caused to Borg.

Mr Justice Grazzio Mercieca said the prison authorities had a duty of care to ensure that the prisoners were safe and did not injure one another.

The prison authorities should have known that Schembri was dangerous and been more vigilant in his case, especially since he had killed his partner by stabbing her. The authorities had also been warned of the danger by Borg himself when he sought the transfer to another division.

Schembri and the prison authorities were therefore jointly ordered to pay Borg compensation of €62,387 after the court heard that Borg had suffered a disability of 24%.

Mr Borg is no longer in prison.

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