A truck driver whose motoring manoeuvres went viral after three separate videos of his truck were made public, was denied bail on Friday after a court heard how it was only a matter of time before the man killed someone on the road.
Marius Camilleri, the 57-year old driver, stands accused of 11 different offences ranging from dangerous driving to driving without insurance or a licence, as well as displaying a licence for a 125cc motorbike on his 35-tonne truck.
Mr Camilleri is well-known to police, with a criminal history of nearly 40 convictions spanning 23 years. Among those are at least four convictions for reckless and dangerous driving, three for driving uninsured and a number of other convictions for illegal arrest, theft and violence against police officers. The man has also been out of prison on two suspended sentences and a conditional discharge.
On Friday, he sat in the dock under arrest while the prosecuting officer explained that it had been difficult to serve the man with a summons since his identity card allegedly showed the wrong address.
After Times of Malta shared footage of his dangerous driving, the videos went viral, with eagle-eyed readers noting that the man's truck also featured in other such videos.
Mr Camilleri was finally arrested after being spotted by wardens on the look out for him, who in turn alerted the police.
A number of reports and footage of dangerous driving concerning the accused were exhibited in court.
“He has no respect for authority, as evidenced by his criminal record,” said Inspector Sergio Pisani, adding further that the man was reluctant to cooperate with the police, refusing to give his address and making himself “difficult to pin down.”
Surveillance of his official address had revealed that none of the man’s family members appeared to live there, the court was told.
This insistence by the prosecution that the truck driver had proved hard to find, prompted defence lawyer Leslie Cuschieri to point out that his client’s true address was known by officers stationed at the Qormi police station where the man had signed the bail book.
Although some of the charges could possibly be admitted, the accused pleaded not guilty since he denied not having insured his vehicles.
Dr Cuschieri requested bail, pointing out that the accused had a fixed address, declared on the charge sheet, as well as another nearby address in Qormi which he supplied in court.
Directing some criticism at those who chose to pick on other people’s mistakes, the defence lawyer argued that “sometimes it is themselves who make the mistake - whoever filmed him had committed an offence by using his mobile phone on the road. First and foremost ....we mustn’t give in to hue and cry. Nobody was hurt in the incidents he was filmed committing.”
“If the fear of the prosecution is that he continues to drive, his truck is impounded. If it is his address, they have it now. We must forget the pressures of social media and the press and understand that nothing can be gained from keeping the man in custody,” Dr Cuschieri continued.
However, the court, presided over by Magistrate Monica Vella, turned down the request for bail declaring that the man’s behaviour was a menace to the public and amounted to a lack of respect towards the law.
Inspector Sergio Pisani prosecuted. Lawyer Leslie Cuschieri was defence counsel.