The Trial of David Gatt – Dr John Zammit Montebello

In his testimony, the Deputy Commissioner Joseph Cachia recounted how PC99 Mario Portelli had informed him how following the attempted hold-up on the HSBC depot, David Gatt had told him how he had spoken to Balzan Mayor Dr John Zammit Montebello, in order to seek his assistance after one of the robbers was shot in the face.

“He later had found the doctor at the Smugglers’ in Balzan, taken him to the kitchen and asked him not to mention him while giving evidence.”

In fact, “Dr Gatt was also accused of preventing Dr John Zammit Montebello from giving information to the police or providing evidence in a criminal case. This was soon after the attempted hold up at HSBC’s headquarters.”

The police then questioned Dr Zammit Montebello who confirmed that he had been approached by David Gatt who asked him to help a person who, it had been claimed to him, had been hit with an iron bar on the face.” Was this person Darren Debono? All media portals had reported that Darren Debono was left injured. Was this person hit with an iron bar on the face or was this person shot in the face? And what did David Gatt have to do with this person?

Darren Debono had been shot in the mouth during the HSBC heist and had gone to a doctor to have the bullet removed from his jaw.” While out on bail for the HSBC robbery, he had been shot again, in the leg, during a failed hold-up at a jeweller’s shop.”

In his testimony, the Deputy Commissioner Joseph Cachia had said that Portelli had told him that Gatt “knew the jeweller, Michael Mizzi since he was stationed at Rabat. He asked him if he knew anyone who could assist since one of the robbers had been injured and the doctor he knew was abroad.”

In his testimony, star witness PC99 Mario Portelli had also testified that when he had met David Gatt in a restaurant in Sliema, three weeks after the attempted heist on the HSBC headquarters in Qormi, “Gatt looked worried as Darren Debono had been injured by a bullet fired by the police who returned fire in the shootout that ensued.” “According to the witness, David Gatt was particularly worried at the prospect that a doctor with whom he [Gatt] contacted, might mention his name in court,” adding that Gatt had “explained to him that during his conversation with the doctor he said: ‘you’re a doctor; I’m a lawyer.’

“The doctor – identified by his nickname ‘Goofy’ – was approached by Gatt to examine Darren Debono soon after the foiled heist on the HSBC headquarters, but could not assist at that time, as an X-Ray was necessary and any haphazard intervention could permanently disfigure the injured man.” Was proof of this x-ray presented in court?

“During his evidence, PC99 Mario Portelli told the court that David Gatt had shown him the doctor’s clinic in Balzan when they had once driven close to it.”

Dr Zammit Montebello did then testify in court. During the proceedings against Debono, he did not deny to have “a phone call explaining the nature of the problem and had given an appointment at St Anne’s Clinic during which the police had raided the premises and arrested the men.”

“Testifying again in these proceedings, he added that David Gatt had made this phone call. Asked why he had not mentioned Gatt before, he had replied that Gatt had “asked him to not mention him if he could.””

During his own testimony, “Gatt denied suggestions that Zammit Montebello had asked him not to mention his name during proceedings.”

But didn’t Portelli and Zammit Montebello himself testify so? We have the testimony of the same Zammit Montebello and of PC99 Mario Portelli, which is also in sync with what Deputy Commissioner Joseph Cachia had repeated, and yet, eyebrows were not raised?! So, three people, a doctor, a police constable and a deputy commissioner, reporting the same thing, and this was not given value? Did Lady Justice ask for proof from St Anne’s Clinic or any other documentation? Why didn’t Lady Justice get suspicious? Did Lady Justice notice the town of ‘Balzan’ as a common factor?

Didn’t we read that “Gatt was also charged with aiding criminal fugitives, specifically for seeking medical help for criminal Darren Debono ‘it-Topo’ who had been shot at by the Attard jewellery’s owner’s son in that robbery”?

Malta is so small. Same crimes. Same Darren Debono. Same town. Testimonies which coincide. Same building with the stairs. Same village lawyer. Same David Gatt.

And yet Gatt was acquitted from our courts and the mind continues to boggle.

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