A third police officer has been charged with kidnapping and beating up foreign nationals as a court heard how he and his colleagues picked their victims at random, injuring one so badly that he lost consciousness.

Luca Brincat, 20, from Qormi was also filmed threatening another victim with a knife, according to the prosecution's evidence.

Brincat denied the charges when he was arraigned on Monday, a day after two of his colleagues Rica Mifsud Grech, 22, from Floriana, and Jurgen Falzon, 24, from Sta Venera.

The prosecution explained that a complaint was lodged with the police internal affairs unit by those who worked on the same shift as the accused. 

It was alleged that the three constables would go on patrol, pick a foreign national at random, take him to an uninhabited place at Qormi, beat him up and then abandon him there.

The court heard that the alleged violence had taken place at least three times.

One of the victims was identified before Sunday's arraignment, but a second one was identified only after the arrangement of the other two constables.

Police also had footage in which the accused was filmed threatening a yet unidentified third victim with a knife.

Asked to confirm the nature of the injuries, the officers said the injuries had been classified as attempted grievous bodily harm. The victims had not sought medical help.

One of them had lost consciousness as a result of the beating.

Police constables Jurgen Falzon, 24, and Rica Mifsud Grech, 22 were charged on Sunday. Photo: FacebookPolice constables Jurgen Falzon, 24, and Rica Mifsud Grech, 22 were charged on Sunday. Photo: Facebook

Brincat, who was denied bail, was arrested on Friday in Ħamrun while investigating an unrelated sudden death case.

He was not arraigned with his colleagues because he was discharged from Mater Dei Hospital where he needed treatment after complaining of chest pains. 

The constable was accompanied in court by his parents. 

Franco Debono, lawyer for Brincat, said his client had come willingly to the police depot for questioning.

Brincat was arrested on Friday in Ħamrun while investigating an unrelated sudden death case.

They objected to bail because one of the victims had still not testified at the inquiry and a third victim was still to be identified and tracked down.  

Debono made lengthy arguments to counter that objection, pointing out that the 20-year-old accused was a first-time offender, with an untainted criminal record and was to be presumed innocent “like all else”.

“That after all is what the rule of law calls for," he said.

"Our legal system is geared so that people charged do not go to jail pending proceedings. A person accused and found guilty does not go to jail pending appeal," went on the lawyer.

The accused’s parents were also willing to step in as third-party guarantors.

Debono also questioned why the victim had not been made to testify at the first sitting. 

The court, presided over by magistrate Monica Vella, turned down the request but urged the prosecution to summon the main witnesses as soon as possible. 

Inspectors Joseph Mercieca and Omar Zammit prosecuted, assisted by AG lawyers Anthony Vella and Kaylie Bonnett prosecuted. Lawyers Franco Debono and Francesca Zarb were defence counsel. 

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