Psychiatrists say Abner Aquilina is unfit to stand trial for murder

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Three psychiatrists have said they believe the man accused of murdering Polish student Paulina Dembska is mentally unfit to stand trial at this stage.

Abner Aquilina is charged with the rape and murder of the 29-year-old man, whose body was found in Sliema’s Independence Garden on January 2.

Uncertainty hangs over the case as Aquilina was admitted to Mount Carmel Hospital, where psychiatrists have previously testified that he told doctors he had demonic powers and was possessed by the devil.

Court has been adjourned until a report is prepared by three psychiatrists to examine the 20-year-old defendant and testify whether he was insane when he allegedly committed the offence.

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Lawyers consult on next steps

10:49 Lawyers for the Attorney General advise the court that at this stage they will take the time to consult on the way forward in terms of law. Defense attorney Mario Mifsud says he has no questions at this stage.


Abner looks ahead

10:47 Aquilina is sitting in the front seat. He gazes passively ahead of him, his hands clasped in his lap.


Why declared unfit?

10:45 a.m. The psychiatrists base these findings on their acknowledgment that he was dealing with delusions and emotions expressed in his behavior, how he recounted the incident, his past substance use and a personal experience in November 2020.

They spoke to Aquilina five times, the last in May.

The psychotic state was still present and was a source of thoughts related to the crime. He still nourished certain thoughts and delusions with passion, tell the psychiatrists in court.


‘Unfit to stand trial’

10:41 a.m. Psychiatrists are asked: Was Aquilina mad at the time of the crime? They concluded that he was probably in a state of severe psychosis. At this stage of recovery, he is unfit to stand trial, they say.


Three psychiatrists take the oath

10:39 Three psychiatrists, Anthony Dimech, Anton Grech and George Debono take the oath.


We are back

10:35 a.m. Defense lawyer Mario Mifsud is back and Aquilina has also been returned to court. The lawyer approaches the seat and apologizes for the delay, which he attributes to a delay by the court of appeal. Aquilina’s relatives are also in court.


Missing Defense Lawyers

10:15 a.m. The defense lawyers are not there. The court specifies that his assistant was contacted by the lawyer Mario Mifsud who is currently at another hearing before the court of appeal. The meeting is suspended until his arrival. A short suspension of a few minutes is expected.


Who is who?

10:14 a.m. Inspector Wayne Camilleri is prosecuting, assisted by attorneys for Attorney General Darlene Grima and Anthony Vella. Lawyers Mario Mifsud and Christian Camilleri are defense lawyers. Lawyers Stefano Filletti and Martina Cuschieri are civil parties, representing the victim’s family.


Abner Aquilina arrives

10:10 a.m. Murder defendant Abner Aquilina arrives in court, now with dark hair and a goatee. Two psychiatrists are waiting to testify and magistrate Marse-Ann Farrugia has just taken her place.

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