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Police inspector confirms working as bouncer whilst serving with minister

Inspector Taliana refused to be drawn into revealing where he had worked as a bouncer, only stating that such work was not carried out in Paceville: “I have never worked as a bouncer in Paceville.”

matthew_agius
Matthew Agius
20 March 2017, 4:49pm
Inspector Elton Taliana has sued MaltaToday for libel
Inspector Elton Taliana has sued MaltaToday for libel
A police inspector has denied being investigated over an arson attack on the home of MediaToday's managing editor Saviour Balzan in 2007 and suggested that the person who informed the Commissioner of Police at the time might have had a vested interest in getting him in trouble. 

Elton Taliana, testifying in a libel suit filed against journalist Raphael Vassallo, insisted that he had not been under investigation, even though Magistrate Francesco Depasquale read out excerpts from notes of a police file referring to an investigation into the same Taliana.

In the confidential report compiled by former police commissioner John Rizzo, it was noted that Rizzo had received confidential information that Taliana was “unsuitable” for his role, worked as a bouncer on the side, “indulged in the importation of firearms” and “had set fire to a door”.

Taliana has sued for libel over an article titled ‘Police inspector in wrongful prosecution was investigated over 2007 arson’.

This morning, Taliana repeatedly denied being investigated over the arson attacks.

Lawyer Veronique Dalli cross-examined the inspector. She asked the plaintiff about alleged connections with Duncan Petroni who had been detained in Brazil on drug trafficking charges and well-known underworld figure Pasqualino Cefai.

“I had nothing to do with Duncan Petroni or Pasqualino Cefai,” Taliana told the court.

Inspector Taliana refused to be drawn into revealing where he had worked as a bouncer, only stating that such work was not carried out in Paceville: “I have never worked as a bouncer in Paceville.”

The lawyer asked where it was that he had worked as a bouncer, as he had previously testified to having been investigated for allegedly moonlighting as a nightclub security guard and had admitted that it had coincided with his service as a bodyguard to former home affairs minister Tonio Borg.

Dalli asked whether he had sought prior permission for this work. Taliana confirmed that he hadn't.

Taliana’s lawyer, Joe Zammit Maempel, objected to the defence's questions, saying “we are here for a libel not to discuss his life.”

Taliana claimed that he was not investigated for the arson attack on Balzan's residence: “I have never been investigated over that arson. This informer who felt the need to give the information two months after my annulment...this informer is anonymous on the system but she had gone to [Former Commissioner of Police] John Rizzo carrying a copy of the decision in my marital annulment case.”

Dalli revisited the club security issue, asking where it was that he had worked as a bouncer, if not in Paceville. “This is the sixth time!” objected Taliana, refusing to answer the question.

“Did you ever import firearms?” asked the lawyer.

“No,” came back the reply.

“Then John Rizzo must have entered false information,” Dalli quipped.

She asked the plaintiff about the arson attack: “I was sergeant stationed at the Ministry of the Interior and National Security with Tonio Borg in 2006. This is why I object and why it is malicious, I wasn't an inspector at the time. I came to know of the arson through the newspapers.”

Nobody had ever questioned him about the arson attacks, he said.

“There is a reason why I was never questioned about the arson and that is because the informer had not told Rizzo about arson. She confirmed the throwing of paint. The information that she told Rizzo conflicted with the scene of crime. There was no paint on his front door.”

Dalli's questioning went on to the issue of the arrest of Darren Luke Borg. Had the Inspector ever been in the presence of Borg? Taliana said that he had only spoken to Borg once, as a witness in a separate drugs case.

“I had once arraigned Stephen Mifsud known as in-Naqqu on drugs and I had spoken to Borg, only because Borg would buy drugs from him.”

The inspector's cross-examination continues in May.

matthew_agius
Court reporter Matthew Agius is a Legal Procurator and Commissioner for Oaths. Prior to re...