The 29-year-old charged with being an accomplice in a violent Birkirkara hold-up in 2009 told the police his masked friend forced him to flee the scene of crime at gunpoint, a court heard yesterday.

Police Inspector Keith Arnaud told jurors that Matthew Mizzi gave the police at least three conflicting versions of how he had driven off in a getaway car.

Mr Mizzi, of Cospicua, stands charged with being an accomplice in an armed hold-up, being in possession of a firearm, driving the car allegedly used in the armed robbery without a licence and filing a false police report.

The hold-up occurred on April 13, 2009 when Mr Mizzi allegedly drove Jonathan Coleiro to a shop called Seven Mobiles in Psaila Street, Birkirkara, with the intent to carry out a robbery.

Shop owner Charles Zammit was held at gunpoint and shot at a number of times, with a bullet piercing his left hand.

The prosecution alleges that, after the hold-up, Mr Mizzi went to the Msida police station and reported that while he was in Birkirkara waiting for his girlfriend, he heard the sound of gunshots and was promptly held at gunpoint by a masked man who ordered him to drive off.

He then changed his version, saying he had driven Mr Coleiro to Birkirkara for an unknown errand and had e kicked him out of the car. He later admitted it was Mr Coleiro who chose when to exit the vehicle.

The trial continues.

Lawyers Elaine Mercieca and Ann Marie Cutajar from the Office of the Attorney General are acting for the prosecution.

Lawyers Michael and Lucio Schiriha and Christopher Chircop are appearing for Mr Mizzi.

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