Tourism Minister calls out PN MP on ‘conflict of interest’
Obsessed stalker rants at journalists, threatens to flatten Times offices
Police inspector intervenes after man launches into an unhinged rant at journalists outside courtroom
2 March 2016, 5:00pm
“Psychologically, I’m shattered,” the 39 year-old victim told Magistrate Aaron Bugeja. “It is unacceptable that I cannot live a woman’s life at 39 years of age because someone has an idea in his head. This is a martyrdom, torture...it is not normal to not be able to take a photograph with your boyfriend for fear of it ending up on Facebook and him being identified.”
Outside the courtroom, before this afternoon’s sitting, police inspector Kylie Borg had to intervene when the man launched into an unhinged rant at an iNews journalist, demanding, amongst other things, to know the name of the journalist’s editor. Prior to this incident, he is understood to have approached a journalist from the Times and threatened to demolish the newspaper’s offices with a mechanical shovel (gaffa).
The accused, who is conducting his own defence, rustled through his copy of the papers perfunctorily during the sitting, glancing around the court for approval, smirking occasionally.
The victim explained to the magistrate that she had attended private lessons given by the accused’s father. They had dated for two and a half months and after she observed unpleasant behaviour, she had ended the relationship.
After that, she had received “letters upon letters” from the accused, begging for reconciliation. Starting in 1992, the man had engaged a number of “mediators,” who included the parish priest and lawyer Dr. Emmy Bezzina, she said.
The woman said that the letters mentioned a certain man, whom she had never heard of. As if on cue, the accused lifted up an A4-sized printout of a photograph of an unidentified adult male, prompting magistrate Aaron Farrugia to ask him to wait his turn.
The woman had filed a police report after she found an envelope, delivered by hand, which purported to contain a copy of an email which the accused had sent to the police and the school where she worked.
The letter which she exhibited in court, insinuated that she had been in an intimate relationship with the accused when he had been a minor. “He accused me of being a pedophile and asked them to investigate my warrant,” the woman testified.
The accused nodded when the court pointed out that the woman had assumed the letter had been handed in by the accused, as she had not seen him physically do so.
The court also heard that the head of school had not contacted her about it and that the school had said that it had not received anything.
There had been a lull of 15 years in his badgering, but after he started again, she had gone to the police.
The court asked whether the woman had ever been followed by the accused. She replied that she had, from 1992 to the year 2000. “Its no joke to have your youth disrupted in such a way that you constantly require a chaperone to be with you. I used to find him outside my house, he used to call me but since 2000 it all went quiet until I received three letters from him last year,” the woman said, angrily.
“I am in prison…,” continued the woman, her voice suddenly hoarse. “I’m always watching my back when I walk in public." In the past, the accused had followed her on the bus, alighting at the same stop as her, she claimed, adding that there had been times when he had grabbed her.
“I am 39. People my age have families...what would I do if i had children?” she asked, as the accused nodded, grinning.
“All thanks to a person who shouldn’t be running around outside in the first place,” protested the woman, her voice rising. “Enough! Enough!” she shouted, distraught, at which point the accused could be seen biting his lip, his face a picture of absolute satisfaction.
The woman was then cross-examined by the accused, who is conducting his own defence. To avoid causing further distress to the woman, the magistrate insisted that the accused address his questions to the court.
“There is a lot of wishful thinking,” the accused remarked. He asked why the woman was alleging defamation when the school had not received his email. The court intervened, clarifying that the charges specified misuse of electronic equipment.
He accused the woman of being paranoid and asked what was causing her all this apprehension after 15 years. The court gently asked her what had happened in the preceding few months which had caused her such fear as to prevent her from living a normal life.
She replied that it had been the threat of being reported to the police as a pedophile which had reignited her fears after 15 years. The accused, helpfully, clarified that he had said that her behaviour was equivalent to that of a pedophile.
He asked the woman why she had persisted in her attitude of reporting him to the police. “It was I who was [effectively] in prison...and there is proof of this, because I had been subjected to a protection order,” the man said, adding that the woman had "tried and failed" to get him fired from his government job.
But the accused seemed to have forgotten about the protection order when, later on in the sitting, the court warned him to abide by the protection order imposed on him. “What protection order?” he asked. When reminded, he declared that he did not recognise the order. “I object to having police officers chasing me around.”
The case continues in May. The court has ordered a ban on the publication of the names of the parties to the case.
Lawyers Kris Busietta and Jason Azzopardi are appearing parte civile for the woman.
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