Two soldiers accused of the racially-motivated murder of a man have been granted bail. 

Lorin Scicluna and Francesco Fenech were granted bail against a personal deposit of €30,000, personal guarantee of €20,000 and subject to remaining indoors between 7pm and 6am every day. The two must also sign a bail book daily. 

Mr Scicluna and Mr Fenech stand accused of having murdered Lassana Cisse in cold blood, in a drive-by shooting in Ħal Far earlier this year. 

Mr Cisse was walking home along a country lane after watching a football game when he was shot dead in April.

In its decree, the Court said it took into consideration a number of factors including that the accused, who were still presumed innocent, were facing a long prison term because of a racially motivated murder, that a large number of witnesses had been heard and no civil witnesses remained to be heard which could lead to an interference with the course of justice.

The Court said it considered and examined important literature that was central to the right to liberty and security of the person. This mentioned four reasons as relevant for the continuation of a person’s pre-trial detention, where there was still a reasonable suspicion of his or her having committed an offence.

These were
* the risk of flight;
* the risk of interference with the course of justice;
* the need to prevent crime; and 
* the need to preserve public order.

Such literature also stated that “it is essential that there be no attempt to use one or other of these reasons to justify a continuation of a person’s deprivation of liberty unless due and explicit consideration had first been given as to the genuineness of their applicability to his or her particular situation. Where none is found applicable the release of the person concerned will then be required.”

The Court said seven months had passed since procedures started against the accused and it believed they were no reasons for them to be held under arrest pending trial.

Prosecutors say the two men killed Mr Cisse for little reason apart from his skin colour. Mr Fenech has admitted to taunting migrants while one of Mr Scicluna’s former girlfriends told a court how he would often confront migrants in the street. 

Both men have pleaded not guilty and deny all charges against them. 

Lawyers Franco Debono and Kris Busietta are representing Mr Scicluna while lawyers Giannella de Marco and Stephen Tonna Lowell are representing Mr Fenech.

Magistrate Ian Farrugia is presiding over the compilation of evidence. 

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