“An independent audit needs to be carried out on the CCTV footage prepared by court expert Martin Bajada for the inquiries carried out by Judge Albert Manche and Magistrate Anthony Vella on the death of Nicholas Azzopardi. They accepted blindly the work that he did, taking his goodwill and integrity for granted.” Labour MP Evarist Bartolo said this after it emerged that in 1992 Martin Bajada embezzled £50,000 of Air Malta funds and was fired by the company.
Even before this information was made public Bartolo said that the CCTV footage Bajada prepared as a court expert for the inquiries into the death of Nicholas Azzopardi has been heavily edited and whole sequences of important moments in the chain of events have been deleted. Azzopardi died in April 2008 after he had to be hospitalized following an incident while in police custody.
Assistant Commissioner Michael Cassar, under whose watch the Azzopardi incident took place told Judge Albert Manche` appointed to investigate the case that Bajada “had a tough job selecting the relevant sequences of the CCTV footage.” In his report Manche` accepts uncritically the video footage prepared for him by Bajada. Manche did not appoint any IT expert to scrutinize the CCTV edited footage prepared by Martin Bajada.
Bajada did not – and was not requested to – prepare a report on what was deleted from the original footage. There are important sequences missing and no explanation has been given why they are missing and whether the original footage is still available. The CCTV footage is edited in a way to corroborate the police evidence. The Manche’ and Vella inquiries exonerate the police completely.
Martin Bajada who prepared the edited CCTV footage flouted the guidelines he recommended in a talk he gave on 12 January 2012 in a local hotel on the ‘Retrieval of video & CCTV evidence’ for police investigations.
In1993, a year after defrauding Air Malta £50,000, Bajada became a court expert. His website, until it disappeared a few days ago boasted that he has worked on “more than 1,500 cases concerning homicide, organised crime, money laundering, drug trafficking, misappropriation, theft, fraud, intellectual property rights, computer misuse and questioned documents. Today, at any point in time he would have a workload of around 45 cases.”
Significantly his biography starts in 1993 and leaves out totally what he was involved in as an Air Malta employee in London in 1992 when he embezzled Air Malta funds to sustain his very expensive lifestyle. In his biography he edits out any reference to his Air Malta job.