Wrongly jailed father wants Chief Justice to recuse himself in new case claiming breach of rights
The Constitutional Court yesterday started hearing a case filed by Emmanuel Camilleri – the man who had been wrongly jailed for 400 days – against the Office of the Attorney General, the Police Commissioner and Inspector Louise Calleja, in which he is claiming that his fundamental rights were breached.
Mr Camilleri had served 400 days from a two-year prison sentence after he was found guilty of sexually abusing his daughter. It later emerged that his daughter had invented the whole thing under pressure from her mother (Camilleri’s estranged wife). He had originally been found guilty in 2011 and the sentence was confirmed on appeal in May 2015. Inspector Calleja had prosecuted.
When the daughter’s perjury came to light, Mr Camilleri was released on an interim measure but his sentence remained effective. In September of this year a court cancelled the sentence and ordered the removal of Mr Camilleri’s name from the sex offenders register. However it found that there was no breach of human rights.
In the new case, lawyer Tonio Azzopardi, who is appearing for Mr Camilleri, requested that Mr Justice Silvio Camilleri recuse himself since he was the Attorney General when the original proceedings against Mr Camilleri started in 2010.
The AG, the Police Commissioner and Inspector Calleja objected, saying that Dr Silvio Camilleri, as Attorney General, had never come in direct contact with the case.
Dr Kathleen Grima, appearing for Inspector Calleja, said the prosecuting officer had taken legal advice from the Attorney General’s Office but never from the AG personally.
But Dr Azzopardi said there was no guarantee that the Chief Justice (in his former role as AG) had never been consulted on the case.
The Chief Justice said he could not recall having ever been consulted on the case. If things were different he would have abstained from hearing the case.
Lawyers Victoria Buttigieg and Sarah Portelli are appearing for the Attorney General and Police Commissioner respectively. Lawyers Arthur Azzopardi and Kathleen Grima are appearing for Inspector Calleja.