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
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.