Man who fab­ri­cated ev­i­dence to por­tray po­lice of­fi­cer as pae­dophile jailed

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

A man who at­tempted to falsely in­crim­i­nate a po­lice con­sta­ble of chat­ting in­ap­pro­pri­ately with a mi­nor has ended up be­hind bars.

Jack­son Mi­callef, 33, stood ac­cused of fab­ri­cat­ing ev­i­dence, mis­us­ing of elec­tronic equip­ment and re­cidi­vism.

He was charged af­ter the home af­fairs min­istry re­ported a pen drive it had re­ceived con­tain­ing a chat log be­tween a male user and a 17-year-old, in which sex­ual re­marks ap­peared to have been made, along with pho­tos of the man and pic­tures of male gen­i­talia.

To­gether with the pen drive was a scrap of pa­per bear­ing the con­sta­ble’s name and nick­name, and where he was sta­tioned.

The of­fi­cer was sub­se­quently ques­tioned and charged with sex of­fences.

A closer look at the con­tents of the pen drive in­di­cated, how­ever, that the con­ver­sa­tion had been fab­ri­cated, with a lack of flow and com­ments seem­ingly out of place.

Fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion even­tu­ally led the po­lice to Mi­callef, who had fab­ri­cated the ev­i­dence be­fore pass­ing the pen drive on to the home af­fairs min­istry and the po­lice com­mis­sioner with the as­sis­tance of a friend who was chief cus­tomer care of­fi­cer at a min­istry.

Dur­ing his in­ter­ro­ga­tion, the ac­cused told the po­lice that he had wanted to ex­act re­venge on the of­fi­cer for chat­ting up his younger brother at a gay bar some four years prior.

The court heard how the ac­cused had met the po­lice of­fi­cer at a mu­tual friend’s house – the cus­tomer care of­fi­cer. He then set up two fake on­line pro­files to en­gage the of­fi­cer in con­ver­sa­tion, one pur­port­edly be­long­ing to an adult, the other to a 17-year-old.

The ac­cused spliced the con­tents of the en­su­ing con­ver­sa­tions, adding pho­tos from Face­book to create the im­pres­sion that the of­fi­cer was a sex­ual preda­tor with a pen­chant for mi­nors.

Mi­callef de­nied hav­ing any knowl­edge of the note ac­com­pa­ny­ing the pen drive, sug­gest­ing that it may have been added by his friend at the cus­tomer care of­fice.

Hav­ing ex­am­ined all the ev­i­dence, Mag­is­trate Donatella Frendo Dimech said she was con­vinced of Mi­callef’s guilt:

“The ac­cused knew of the pen drive’s in­tended use. He was the one who amal­ga­mated and cre­ated the fic­ti­tious ev­i­dence to give the im­pres­sion that [the po­lice­man] was a sex­ual preda­tor who preyed on mi­nors.”

The court also ob­served that in his tes­ti­mony, the ac­cused had failed to prop­erly ex­plain his full in­volve­ment in what it called the “rep­re­hen­si­ble act,” de­spite the ev­i­dence against him.

Mag­is­trate Frendo Dimech said that Mi­callef had done “ab­so­lutely noth­ing to con­vince the court that he de­served a min­i­mum pun­ish­ment.”

He was there­fore found guilty of fab­ri­cat­ing false ev­i­dence but cleared of mis­us­ing elec­tronic com­mu­ni­ca­tions equip­ment.

He was con­demned to a three­year prison sen­tence and or­dered to pay €1,180 in court ex­penses.

In ad­di­tion, the mag­is­trate or­dered the po­lice com­mis­sioner to in­ves­ti­gate the ac­com­plice in the plot and to take steps ac­cord­ingly.

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