Anton Refalo furious after Jason Azzopardi asks if he ordered Bogdanovic’s release
Justice Shadow Minister Jason Azzopardi yesterday asked whether Gozo Minister Anton Refalo had issued the order for a footballer who was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence to be released.
This prompted an angry outburst by Dr Refalo, who demanded that the MP substantiate or withdraw the allegation.
Dr Azzopardi was referring to the case of former international player Daniel Bogdanovic, who was arrested on Saturday 29 October and released the following morning, only to be arraigned under arrest the following day. It is being claimed that the police released him on instructions from a government official. An inquiry has been launched.
Without mentioning the football player by name, the PN MP said the man could have been kept under arrest until Monday evening - the police can hold you for 48 hours . “But on Sunday the (police) superintendent - who has to answer for this gave the order to grant police bail. And for what reason? So that he could go and play football. These things make no sense.”
The fact that he was arraigned under arrest meant that this was a serious case and there was a possibility for the accused to tamper with evidence. Yet he was given police bail so that he could go and play at a football match. “Is it fair if you live in a country where a person who stabs someone ends up in court within hours, unless that person is a former political candidate? It is useless to give these rights if the law is not applied in the same way in all cases. How would you feel if the law was applied differently in your case? Is it true that the Gozo Minister gave that order and that this was not the first time he interfered in police matters? We are speaking about rights. But is everyone equal before the law or have some of us become untouchables?”
A few minutes later an angry Gozo Minister entered the chamber and demanded that Dr Azzopardi substantiate his claims and challenged him to repeat the claims outside, where he was not protected by Parliamentary privilege. “I know he’s not man enough but I challenge him to repeat these claims outside.” Dr Azzopardi said he had only asked a question.