Updated 10.52am, with arraignment

A 79-year-old man has been charged in connection with the involuntary homicide of Marie Claire Lombardi, who died after her motorcycle skidded on spilt olives in Rabat last year. 

Joseph Cortis, from Dingli, denied the charges, which also included causing involuntary damage to the victim's Yamaha bike, when he spilt olives and foliage on the road near the roundabout at the intersection between Saqqajja Road and Mdina Road.

He was granted bail when he appeared before Magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo on Thursday morning. 

In a statement earlier, police said that following an intensive investigation, officers had identified the person who left slippery material on the road that had ultimately caused the accident that resulted in Lombardi's death. 

The victim's husband, Aldo Lombardi, was present during the brief hearing. 

Aldo and Marie-Claire Lombardi enjoyed motorcycle trips together. Photo: FacebookAldo and Marie-Claire Lombardi enjoyed motorcycle trips together. Photo: Facebook

Last October, reports emerged that Lombardi had lost control of her motorcycle while on her way home from work. 

Later, her grieving husband published photos sent to him which showed spilt olives that had been ground down by traffic and created slippery conditions on the site of his wife's accident. 

This prompted the police to make a public appeal for information about the material and who may have dropped it. The police thanked public cooperation following the announcement on Thursday. 

Speaking to Times of Malta last year Aldo Lombardi made an appeal for the person responsible for his wife's death to come forward and advocated for information about traffic accidents to become more accessible to the public. 

Lombardi said that he had lost "his wife and his best friend", saying that the pair had been together for 23 years and travelled thousands of kilometres on motorbikes and had never had an accident. 

Joseph Cortis denies involuntary homicideJoseph Cortis denies involuntary homicide

On Thursday morning he said: “Closure can now start. I thank the inquiring magistrate, the police and court experts but most importantly I thank those witnesses who have come forward to lead to this arraignment.”

Magistrate Frendo granted bail on a personal guarantee of €50,000 and on the condition that Cortis sign a bail book three times a week and not approach any prosecution witnesses.

Inspector Roderick Attard prosecuted. Lawyer Patrick Valentino was defence counsel. Lawyers Arthur Azzopardi and Jacob Magri appeared on behalf of the victim's family. 

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