Updated at 1.35pm
A teenager accused of running over a police officer in Luqa earlier this year has been granted bail.
Liam Debono, 17, will be able to return home while his case plays out, provided he forks out a €10,000 deposit and €40,000 personal guarantee, a criminal court ruled on Friday morning. Mr Debono will also have to sign a bail book every Saturday and must abide by a strict curfew.
A probation officer will watch over the teenager, the court decided, after hearing his lawyer Franco Debono argue that his client must be presumed innocent until guilty and that civilian witnesses had already testified.
The court noted that Mr Debono was a minor who needed special social help. Keeping him locked up at Corradino Correctional Facility would be counterproductive, the court said.
Mr Debono stands accused of the attempted murder of PC Simon Schembri, who suffered critical injuries when he was thrown over the bonnet of an unlicensed Mercedes, then thrown to the ground, run over as the car reversed and dragged for a considerable distance.
Mr Debono was subsequently arrested by the police and has been held behind bars since. In CCTV footage, the Mercedes could be seen swerving around and speeding off after dragging the officer along.
He was arraigned on May 16 and pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, causing grievous injuries, causing offences against a public officer, driving a Mercedes registered as ‘garaged’, with false number plates, driving without valid insurance cover, driving without the owner’s consent and driving without a licence.
He was also accused of disobeying police orders, driving without a seat belt, using a vehicle licence disk pertaining to a Volkswagen Polo, breaching a number of traffic regulations, receiving stolen property (number plates and car licence) and being a relapser.
Lawyers Franco Debono and Amadeus Cachia appeared for the accused. Philip Galea Farrugia prosecuted.