A police officer expected to face criminal charges over an allegation that he “brutally attacked” a motorist is claiming he was never given the right to remain silent when testifying in the court case against the driver.

David Camilleri, an officer with the Rapid Intervention Unit, is claiming he was never cautioned in court that anything he could say could incriminate him when testifying against the motorist.

The right to remain silent is enshrined in the Constitution.

Mr Camilleri and his colleague, Mark Tonna, are alleged to have brutally attacked Jean Paul Aquilina, 24, of Mosta, when they stopped him on suspicion of drink-driving in Mġarr last month. Mr Aquilina is facing separate proceedings over dangerous driving, assaulting police officers, resisting arrest and disobeying their orders.

Police Constable Camilleri said that when he testified in the criminal case against Mr Aquilina, he was not given the right to remain silent. He filed an application before the First Hall of the Civil Court in its constitutional jurisdiction, claiming that his right to remain silent had been breached even though the prosecution knew criminal action would be taken against him and his colleague.

Any criminal action against him was null and void

Through his lawyer Tonio Azzopardi, Mr Camilleri said that any criminal action against him was null and void in view of this breach.

Moreover, Mr Camilleri claimed the police had failed to search Mr Aquilina’s car despite the latter’s claim that he had a revolver and had threatened to use it against the officers. The police, he said, also failed to carry out a breathalyser test on Mr Aquilina to establish whether he was driving under the influence. Neither did they take a sample of his urine to establish whether there were any traces of illegal substances.

He said the police Internal Affairs Unit, which investigates claims of misbehaviour against police officers, had alleged that on the police recording system someone was heard saying “you’re going to kill him”.

But Mr Camilleri insisted this was not true, as this phrase could not be heard in any recording the police had in their possession.

Mr Camilleri further claimed that he had been “pressured” not to involve the newly set- up Police Officers’ Union, in breach of the right of association. He called on the court to rule that his right to remain silent had been breached, to halt all criminal action taken against him and compensate him for the breach he had suffered.

The application was filed against police inspectors Ramon Mercieca and Jesmond Micallef, both of the police Internal Affairs Unit, Police Inspector Nicholas Vella, who is prosecuting in Mr Aquilina’s case, as well as the Police Commissioner and the Attorney General.

PC Camilleri suffered five small scratches to his face during the incident. In court, he could not explain the facial injuries suffered by Mr Aquilina, including a laceration under his eye.

He also suggested that Mr Aquilina’s injuries were self-inflicted, because “he slammed himself against the police car” during a scuffle after he had assaulted the officers.

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