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Chris Said resignation: 'I am stepping down to prove my innocence in court'

Parliamentary Secretary Chris Said has resigned.

23 September 2010, 12:00am


 

Parliamentary secretary Chris Said has announced his resignation, and is stepping down to clear his name in a case of perjury that is expected to be filed against him by the Commissioner of Police.

He will be asking the criminal courts to have the case heard with urgency, saying he took the decision to resign “serenely, because this is what correctness demands.”

In a press conference at 4:30pm held at the Osborne Hotel, in Valletta, he said he could not say whether this case would spell the end of his political career, when asked whether he expected the Prime Minister to reinstate him if he was acquitted.

Said was caught up in an emotional moment when he was asked whether he had informed his relatives. He started sobbing as he explained how hard it was to inform his mother of his decision.

“I believe it is important to be correct in politics, which is why I am resigning so that I can contest these charges and prove my innocence… my testimony had no bearing on this case and its effects.”

When asked whether the case had any political bearing, given that his accuser’s lawyer is Labour MP Justyne Caruana, Said refused to comment on the matter.

The resignation comes as Judge Michael Mallia today ordered the Police Commissioner to file criminal charges against Said, over perjury in a case that involves the custody of a child.

The case goes back to 2007 when Said was lawyer to a British woman who was seeking custody of her baby from his Gozitan father. A court in Gozo decided to award temporary custody of the baby while the case was considered.

Said said the woman later chose another lawyer, and he handed over the case-file of to him.

Then in 2008, he was summoned to court to testify on the previous case when the court gave the woman temporary custody “during an evening sitting in January 2007”.

This statement prompted the baby’s father, Martin Xuereb, to file proceedings against Said, arguing that what he said was untrue as the court had decided in the afternoon in camera, before the evening sitting.

At first, the police on advice of the Attorney General, said there were no legal grounds for proceedings against Said. The same court also decided that there were no grounds for proceedings since the discrepancy in the evidence had no bearing on the case at issue.

Nonetheless the baby’s father filed a court challenge against the police and the court, presided by Mr Justice Michael Mallia, decided that legal proceedings should be instituted against Dr Said.

The Prime Minister has accepted Said’s resignation and will reinstate him if he is acquitted of the charges (see letter below).

Chris Said's letter to the Prime Minister.



Prime Minister's letter to Chris Said.



GRTU Reaction

In a statement GRTU boss Vince Farrugia commented about Chris Said's resignation :“Chris Said is one of the most valuable and hard working members of Government. GRTU and I personally have an excellent relationship with this young and very promising elected administrator. There are too many important issues effecting micro and small enterprises currently being managed efficiently by Chris Said. While I admire Chris Said’s courage and conviction I do hope that the issue is handled with utmost urgency and sincerely augur that Chris Said is back in office the soonest”. Concluded Vince Farrugia, GRTU Director General and member of the EESC

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Antonella Xuereb
Personally I love to argue. Being in Malta I enjoy the never ending disputes. However too many arguments are ending up in court today, in Malta and in other places, like in my home country Germany. Forcing a hard working and honest politician out of office because of a possible minor mistake in his private legal practice seems to be not adequate. Hopefully this legal case is not to long in the air to bring Dr. Said, who seem to be respected by all parties, likely back to work for Malta.
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Why is it that everytime the MP's of the PN get themselves in trouble Justyne seems to become a target? Remember the voting in Parliament? Or is this in the words of Chris Said another trivial mistake. Maltese Society begs to ask how many trivial mistakes are they expected to accept from their Members of Parliament?
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Christian Attard
Dr. Said I think an apology to Dr. Justyn Caruana would be in order, don't you think.
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Friday, 24th September 2010 - 11:46CET Justyne Caruana not involved in procedures which led to Chris Said's resignation Gozitan lawyer and MP Justyne Caruana said in a statement this morning that she was not the lawyer representing Anthony Xuereb in his challenge and appeal against former Parliamentary Secretary Chris Said, which eventually led to his resignation yesterday. Dr Said yesterday resigned as Parliamentary Secretary after a court ordered the Police Commissioner to initiate criminal proceedings against him for allegedly lying under oath when testifying during a child custody case. Dr Caruana said there were some who tried to attribute ulterior motives to her. She pointed out that Mr Xuereb was represented by Roberto Montalto in both cases. She said that she only represented Mr Xuereb in the Civil Court and not in the procedures which led to Dr Said's resignation.
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andre debattista
Milll-kummenti Nazzjonalisti fil- midja "Ingliza" wiehed jiehu l-impressjoni, li -ethical standards li hawn Malta (-taht il-PN) tant huma gholja, li anke il-puri qed jitfixxklu fihom!!!
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Joseph Buhagiar
But I thought that Chris Said was to take immediate legal actio against the PL broadcaster! http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/chris-said/chris-said-to-sue-one-news-for-libel-over-perjury-report-in-custody-case But this is happening the other way round! Wish I could start to beleive somebody.
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David Bartolo
It is sad to say but with the Judicial system here at the moment i find it hard to see Dr Said being reinstated for quite a while .The normal time frame is arround 3 years or longer i believe .
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albert leone
Tajjeb li kullhadd jieqaf ftit u jiftakar kemm hu haga serja GURAMENT, kull gurament u li l-Awtorita Prima li veru jaf kollox fuq kullhadd u jaf il-KULLHADD minn gewwa u minn barra mhux il-Prim Ministru u l-OPM tieghu u fl-ahhar mill ahhar mMieghu irridu jaghmlu il-kontijiet!
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DAVID CARABOTT
ghamel kif jaghmel kull politiku serju jaghmel. shabu il membri parlamentari imisom jihdu l istes ezempju u x hin johrog xi skandlu jaghmlu bhal sehibom
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adrian fabri
Although I feel that Dr Said did the right thing by resigning. Not that he had any alternative in order to be politically correct. I would take the charge of perjury with a pinch of salt, and suggest that he truly did forget the timings of the event? After all we are only talking about a couple of hours discrepancy, in a case that happened some time ago. I feel that this is a case of nit-picking, as even the AG says that there was no legal grounds for proceedings. This case should have been thrown out straight away. Why ruin this mans political career over such a trivial matter.
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David Bartolo
If i read correctly ,It seems that Dr Said has resigned due to an error in the saying of times .If this is the case and i am a staunch Pl supporter i do not believe he had the need to do so . I hope the silly mess is sorted asap i think it's a big step to make for what looks like a minor mistake . C'mon we are all human .
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Mark Caruana
@ John, in that case half the Parliamentarians should resign ?!
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David Azzopardi
Bl-gheruq u x-xniexel, skandalu gej u l-iehor sejjer! Gonzi should fix an permanent office at Castille for the Commissioner of Police! Pajjiz tal-biki!
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Charles Gilson
Nobody can deny one of the best and definitely hardest working. We hope the courts find nothing wrong and Dr Said is back ASAP.
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ray attard
Chris has an obligation to resign from Parliament as well, as people in other civilised countries do.
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John Mansueto
Did he resign as a Parliamentary Secretary or from Parliament?