Man who fabricated evidence to portray police officer as paedophile jailed
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.