Ju­di­ciary watch­dog finds no need for in­ves­ti­ga­tion into claims against Mag­is­trate Joe Mif­sud

● Man con­victed of theft had falsely claimed that he did tiling works at mag­is­trate’s home

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Neil Camil­leri

The Com­mis­sion for the Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Jus­tice has con­firmed that there is noth­ing to in­ves­ti­gate with re­gards to Mag­is­trate Joe Mif­sud, who was the vic­tim of false claims made by a man he had pre­vi­ously con­victed.

The case re­volves around claims made by An­thony Fenech, who had been found guilty of rob­bery and was given a com­mu­nity ser­vice or­der by Mif­sud. The Mag­is­trate had not heard the case from the out­set. In fact he was as­signed the case to­wards the end and had only de­liv­ered sen­tenc­ing.

The At­tor­ney Gen­eral had filed an ap­peal, insisting that a harsher penalty should be im­posed.

Dur­ing one of the ap­peal sit­tings, the bur­glary vic­tim said he had spo­ken to Fenech’s former part­ner, (Fenech’s sec­ond wife) who said Fenech had worked part of his com­mu­nity ser­vice or­der do­ing tiling works at the Mag­is­trate’s home.

The woman had also pro­duced an SMS mes­sage from Fenech in which he claimed that the Mag­is­trate had told him he could give him full cus­tody of their daugh­ter.

It had also been claimed that the mag­is­trate and Fenech lived on the same street. The woman had also said Fenech had told her that the Mag­is­trate said he would only serve half the hours.

In a bid to clar­ify the facts, the court had asked both Fenech and Mag­is­trate Mif­sud to tes­tify.

Fenech, tak­ing the wit­ness stand first, had ad­mit­ted that the con­tents of the SMS were false.

He said he had never spo­ken to the mag­is­trate, ex­cept for one oc­ca­sion where he had saluted Mif­sud.

He said that fol­low­ing his con­vic­tion he had been asked to carry out com­mu­nity work in the same block of apart­ments where the Mag­is­trate lives, but in a flat be­long­ing to the Arka Foundation – an NGO.

Fenech had told the court that at the time (when he sent the SMS) he had been hav­ing trou­ble over cus­tody of his daugh­ter with his first wife and was afraid that this would dam­age his re­la­tion­ship with his sec­ond wife. He said he had lied about the mag­is­trate in or­der to save his re­la­tion­ship, adding that he was sorry for drag­ging Mif­sud into the fray.

The mag­is­trate had in­sisted that such claims were meant to de­stroy his rep­u­ta­tion. He ex­plained that he had bought his flat in 2007 in a fin­ished state and it did not re­quire any tiling works.

Mif­sud, through lawyer Stephen Tonna Low­ell, later wrote to the Com­mis­sion for the Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Jus­tice (CAJ), which is chaired by Pres­i­dent Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, ask­ing it to in­ves­ti­gate the false claims made against him, so that his rep­u­ta­tion, and that of the en­tire ju­di­ciary, would be safe­guarded.

In his let­ter to the CAJ, Mif­sud re­it­er­ated that Fenech had never car­ried out any works at his home, and that he had never spo­ken to the man about child cus­tody.

On 4 June, the CAJ told Mag­is­trate Mif­sud that it had looked at the facts of the ap­peals case and the tes­ti­mony given at a later stage and found deemed that no in­ves­ti­ga­tion was war­ranted.

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