Man with pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions granted pri­vate war­den li­cence, but over­turned on ap­peal

Malta Independent - - NEWS - He­lena Grech

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.

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