Philharmonic CEO Sigmund Mifsud charged with suborning witness

MPO chief Sigmund Mifsud remanded in custody after being charged with suborning witness into not giving any evidence on sexual harassment case

Sigmund Mifsud
Sigmund Mifsud

The CEO of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra has been charged with suborning witnesses from giving information in an alleged criminal act, and of tampering with evidence.

Sigmund Mifsud, 49, was remanded in custody, after being charged with having carried out moral or psychological violence by suborning others, chiefly the victim of sexual harassment, from testifying on the crime.

Mifsud has been suspended on half-pay, with immediate effect. Pjazza Teatru Rjal CEO, Maestro Chris Muscat, has been appointed as acting-CEO of the MPO.

Mifsud is a former Labour Party candidate.

The case concerns a senior official at the national orchestra, who last week admitted to charges of sexual harassment against a female member of the orchestra. The victim had to resign after Mifsud failed to act on her reports.

The senior official at the MPO was placed under a restraining order, as well as a suspended sentence, after admitting to having sexually harassed the young female orchestra musician over a span of more than three years.

The 31-year-old Gozitan man, whose name cannot be published by court order, was accused of harassing the young woman, subjecting her to an unsolicited act of physical intimacy, subjecting her to unwanted sexual behaviour and misuse of telecommunications equipment.

He is understood to have sent the woman sexually-suggestive messages and would repeatedly touch her inappropriately, ignoring her requests that he stop. The abuse lasted from May 2019 till last month.

Victim forced to give up her dream

A representative of the victim explained that the man would persistently attempt to invade the woman’s personal space and would also frequently touch her inappropriately, despite her resistance and vocal objections, forcing her to resign from the MPO, “giving up her dream.”

The victim, a classically trained musician, had resigned from the Orchestra to avoid further contact with the man.

The official's defence lawyer Giannella De Marco had told the court that the accused “suffered a lot from anxiety” which had contributed to the premature end of his musical career. The court warned him that he could face up to six months in prison as well as a fine between €5,000 and €10,000, but explained there were lesser punishments which at the court’s disposal.

After he confirmed his guilty plea, the court declared the man guilty and sentenced him to one year in prison, suspended for four years. A five-year restraining order in favour of the victim was also imposed.

Despite the relatively light sentence, De Marco asked the court for the suspension of the judgement – indicating an intention to file an appeal against the punishment.

READ ALSO: PN demands responsibility be shouldered for orchestra’s inaction on sexual harassment case