Police Union dismayed and disappointed at It-Topo plea bargain / Malta News Briefing – Friday 7 January 2021

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Times of Malta says that Malta will be in breach of European Commission travel rules if it cuts the expiry date of COVID-19 certificates for second doses to three months, as the government plans to do later this month.

MaltaToday says that a judge has postponed the HSBC heist trial of Vincent Muscat, ordering that a key witness, Daren Debono it-Topo, testify first in the compilation of evidence

Newsbook says that Darren Debono, also known as ‘it-Topo’, not to be confused with the former footballer, has been sentenced to 10 years and six months of prison after pleading guilty to being involved in the 2010 botched HSBC heist.

TVM says that Police authorities have confirmed they are investigating homophobic comments posted yesterday by Fr David Muscat

Updated 1300:

Police Union dismayed and disappointed at It-Topo plea bargain: The Malta Police Union expressed disappointment to a plea deal reached with a man suspected of opening fire on officers during an attempted robbery at HSBC in 2010. In a statement, the Union expressed itself as “dismayed and disappointed” by the plea bargain reached with Darren Debono and inviting the Attorney General to “come join the next gunfight”. The plea deal included the attempted homicide charges, that could have led to a far heftier sentence, being dropped by the Attorney General. “This is another step which is causing huge demotivation amongst our officers. There is no respect for the important and dangerous work our officers do on a daily basis”, the union said.

Archbishop gives Fr Muscat formal warning as police prepare to press charges: Archbishop Charles Scicluna has issued a formal warning against Fr David Muscat instructing the priest to cease making “inflammatory and hurtful comments” in public. The priest was also asked to remove a post on Facebook in which he claimed that being gay was worse than being possessed by the devil. The priest was also instructed not to use insulting or hurtful language against any group or individual. Meanwhile, an investigation has been launched into what the controversial priest wrote about gay persons on Facebook, police sources have confirmed.

Covid-19 Update: Recoveries exceeded new cases on Friday, as 888 were declared free from coronavirus, while 786 tested positive. Active cases stand at 14,692. An 86-year old became Malta’s 485th victim of the pandemic.

Morning Briefing

Opposition askes AG to explain Debono decision

The Opposition has cried foul on the AG’s decision to drop attempted homicide charges against Darren Debono, known as It-Topo, with regard to the failed 2010 HBSC robbery. The deal was reached in the last minute, in exchange for a guilty plea and his testimony against other suspects, allowing Debono to get a reduced sentence of 10 years. In a statement PN MPs Karol Aquilina and Beppe Fenech Adami said the Attorney General is obliged to account for her actions in serious cases that impact public security, in the interest of transparency and accountability in the administration of justice. [The Malta Independent]

EC say Malta will be breaking travel rules with changes to Covid-19 certificate

The European Commission said that Malta would be failing to conform with its travel rules if it cuts the expiry date of COVID-19 certificates for second doses to three months. The Maltese Government plans to make such changes from 17th January, with the certificate to expire three months after the second dose or nine months after the booster. A Commission spokesperson said that “member states must accept any vaccination certificate that has been issued less than nine months since the administration of the last dose of the primary vaccination”. [The Times of Malta]

Covid-19 Update: A total of 1144 new daily cases were reported today while 709 people recovered. 114 people are being treated in hospital, 5 of whom are in the ITU. Two women died while diagnosed with COVID-19.

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