Luke Chetcuti, the son of the murdered entertainment mogul Hugo Chetcuti, believes that the life sentence granted to his father’s killer sends out a clear message: that ruthless, cold-blooded murder will be punished harshly.

“My father was taken away from all my family and friends. He can never return, but we find comfort in the fact that the justice system sent a clear message.

"You may not cold-bloodedly and ruthlessly take someone’s life and not expect to be punished accordingly,” Luke told Times of Malta the day after Bojan Cmelik was jailed for life for the murder of Hugo Chetcuti in Paceville in July 2018.

Judge Aaron Bugeja also sentenced Cmelik to a term of solitary confinement.

On Wednesday a jury returned an eight-one guilty verdict finding Serbian national Cmelik, 39, guilty of the wilful homicide of the 52-year-old businessman, who died six days after the attack outside one of his Paceville establishments on July 6, 2018.

The jury also unanimously found Cmelik guilty of having violently resisted arrest and unlawful possession of a weapon.

During the trial witnesses of the July 2018 attack, including Chetcuti's own brother Isaac, recounted seeing a tall stranger wearing a dark blue shirt, light bermuda shorts and a distinctive straw hat, calling out to Chetcuti and approaching him.

The man had one arm raised, as though to embrace the well-known entrepreneur. Chetcuti, who was seated, had responded with open arms of his own. 

But in a split second, the man in the straw hat pulled out a knife with his other hand and made a double swift movement against Chetcuti’s abdomen, causing two stab wounds that perforated the intestines.

CCTV footage showed the aggressor head rapidly up St Rita steps, chased by a group of people.

Cmelik, a nightclub bouncer who had previously been fired from work at one of the Paceville magnate’s clubs, was caught and arrested a few hours later by police officers who had to use a taser to subdue him.

The motive for the crime remains unclear. When asked about this the family preferred not to comment saying: “we consider the issue closed from the legal point of view”.

Attorney General lawyers Kevin Valletta and Maria Francesca Spiteri prosecuted. Legal aid lawyer Simon Micallef Stafrace was defence counsel. Lawyers Joe Giglio and Mario Spiteri appeared on behalf of victim's family.

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