Man with previous convictions granted private warden licence, but overturned on appeal
A man whose criminal history involves driving without a licence and threatening police officers was granted a licence to act as a private warden by the Administrative Review Tribunal, only to have this application denied by a court of appeal.
Christopher Galea had initially applied for a licence to become a private warden in 2014, but this was denied by the Police Commissioner in August that year. The Commissioner cited reasons of public interest as basis for refusal.
In his considerations, the Commissioner noted Mr Galea’s checkered criminal history which includes driving without a valid licence, a conviction for threatening and hurling verbal abuse against a number of police officers, obstructing officers from carrying out their duties, breaching public order, driving under the influence of drink or drugs and lastly having changed the colour of his vehicle without informing Transport Malta as required by law.
Following the Commissioner’s refusal, Mr Galea then sought to legally challenge this decision through the Administrative Review Tribunal. The ART subsequently overturned the Commissioner’s decision, arguing that the Commissioner should have stuck to the criminal convictions as they appear on Mr Galea’s police conduct rather than basing decisions on assumptions that have yet to be proven.
Judge Anthony Ellul, presiding over the case, upheld the Commissioner’s decision to refuse the granting of a private warden’s licence based on the responsibilities that come with the role. He also agreed with the Commissioner that this decision has been taken with the aim of safeguarding the public interest.
For this reason the court upheld the appeal of the Police Commissioner and denied Mr Galea the right to practise as a private warden.