A truck driver who caused the death of a workmate while manoeuvering on a narrow road, pleaded not guilty to involuntary homicide on Wednesday.

Davide Manunta, 35, was charged almost a year since the tragic incident in Triq Wied il-Qoton, Birzebbuġa.

Police Inspector Jonathan Cassar told the court that policemen who went to the scene found the large Leyland DAF truck blocking the narrow road at a diagonal angle.

The victim, Karmnu Micallef,  71 of Mġarr, was dead on the road, having suffered extensive head injuries. 

The two workers had been transporting rebar to a construction site in the area but the truck was too big for the narrow road and the driver tried to manoeuvre it around, the inspector said. 

His colleague stepped out to give him directions but as he stood in front of the truck, he was hit by the heavy vehicle and dragged along.

The court also heard on Wednesday that one of the traffic experts appointed by the magisterial inquiry to report on the incident was closely related to Manunta’s lawyer.

A lawyer representing the victim’s family said that he felt “somewhat uncomfortable” with having a court expert whose relative was on the opposite side as defence lawyer.

Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech said the defence lawyer should consider her position, bearing in mind all interests at stake.

The lawyer was to ensure that justice was not only done but was also seen to be done, said the court, adding that the magistrate (who conducted the inquiry) had never come across a similar situation.

The case continues next month.

Inspector Jonathan Cassar prosecuted.

Lawyer Helga Debono was defence counsel.

Lawyer Roberto Spiteri appeared parte civile.

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