One of the migrants injured in the drive-by shooting when Lassana Cisse was murdered had told officers who arrived on site he had been shot “in the penis”.
Mr Cisse had been fatally shot in Triq tal-Ġebel, Birżebbuġa in April last year.
Testifying in court on Wednesday in the compilation of evidence against former AFM soldiers Francesco Fenech, 21, and Lorin Scicluna, 22, accused of killing Lassana Cisse Souleymane, 42, from the Ivory Coast, PC Raymond Savona recounted his experience on the night in what is thought to be Malta’s first racially-motivated murder.
Mr Fenech and Mr Scicluna, currently out on bail, are also pleading not guilty to the attempted murder of Ibrahim Bah and Mohammed Jallow, who survived after being grievously injured in the same drive-by shooting.
The district officer recalled a call that had alerted the Birżebbuġa station at around 11pm to the presence of a man lying on that particular stretch of the Tal-Ġebel Road.
Arriving on site, police officers had come across a dark-skinned man who waved frantically, signalling for them to stop.
As they approached, the man told officers that he had been shot “in the penis”, prompting them to call an ambulance for emergency help.
PC Savona explained how he had been assigned as fixed point to guard the injured migrant, even accompanying him to hospital.
Another former police sergeant, Manuel Saliba, testified about an earlier incident dating back to February last year when he had been on duty at the Ħal Far Tent Village, assisting Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers workers.
On that February 1 night, towards 10pm, the centre’s CCTV cameras had alerted staff to commotion at the gate.
An injured migrant, with blood seeping from a visible gash on the head and pieces of grass stuck to the skin, was assisted into the centre by a group of fellow-residents.
In spite of a language barrier, the staff managed to make out that the man had been involved in some sort of fight.
However, at a later stage, they understood that the man could possibly have been knocked down by a car, said the witness, adding that the victim had somehow explained how he had lain in the grass unconscious after being knocked down and had later recovered sufficiently to stagger to his feet.
During Wednesday’s hearing, the court, presided over by magistrate Ian Farrugia, informed the parties that an expert from the Netherlands Forensic Institute would be testifying on the results of her tests on the weapon lifted from Lorin Scicluna.
Reference was made to a decree delivered in September whereby the Court had upheld a request by the prosecution to appoint a ballistics expert to “examine and make a test fire on the fire arm CZ P10”, and also to carry out a comparative study with the bullets and cartridges collected from the scene of crime, as well as those found inside the victim’s body.
That expert, sourced from the NFI, had been handed the weapon by two Maltese police officers who had purposely travelled to The Hague.
The expert is expected to testify about the results of her tests before the Maltese court later this month.
The case continues.
Lawyers Giannella DeMarco and Stephen Tonna Lowell are counsel to Mr Fenech. Lawyers Franco Debono and Kris Busietta are counsel to Mr Scicluna.