Man who complained of police inaction against Frankie Grima assault, is charged

Mellieha boathouse owner charged with threatening to shoot Frankie Grima after calling police station to report Grima having assaulted his wife

Paceville businessman Frankie Grima
Paceville businessman Frankie Grima

A man who says he filed multiple police reports against Paceville impresario Frankie Grima over repeated threats – including an incident in which Grima punched his wife in the face – has himself been charged after calling the police to complain of inaction and asking whether ‘he should shoot Grima if he did it again’.

Mellieha resident Joseph Manuel Galea appeared in a district sitting before Magistrate Charmaine Galea this afternoon, charged with misuse of telecommunications equipment and breaching his firearms licence.

The two men own adjacent boathouses at Armier and are understood to have an ongoing disagreement over Grima’s construction of an external terrace in front of his boathouse. Galea is also understood to have filed a number of police reports against Grima and that some of these are the subject of ongoing court proceedings.

MaltaToday has seen CCTV footage and audio recorded by Galea’s security cameras, dated 12 August, which shows Grima angrily banging on the door of Galea’s boathouse, swearing at him and yelling at him to “come out so I can cut you up.”

Other footage, dated 1 November, shows the same man banging on the door again and then punching a woman in the face after she opened the door.

It is understood that the woman in the video is Galea's wife and that on that occasion, Grima had accused the Galeas of stealing his dog.

Although Grima is also facing separate criminal proceedings in connection with some of the police reports Galea had filed, Galea’s lawyer says there are still further charges yet to be pressed.

However, it was Galea who appeared in the dock before Magistrate Charmaine Galea today, in view of his last phone conversation with the police control room, during which he complained that no measures had been taken to protect his safety. “What do you want me to do if he comes for me again? Shoot him?” Galea claims to have asked. 

As a result of that statement, he said the police had carried out a search of his boathouse in a bid to find the shotguns registered in his name. Galea says he had told the officers carrying out the search that the firearm was stored at his home in Mellieha, from where it was later recovered.

Galea was charged with the misuse of electronic telecommunications equipment and violating the conditions of his firearms licence.

A police inspector told the court today that the man had “called the police station threatening to shoot him [Grima].” Grima was not present in court today.

A representative from the Police Weapons Office was called to the stand to testify, telling the court that she had looked up the accused’s ID card number on the police weapons database and discovered that Galea had not paid his licence for two firearms – one of them a shotgun, that he had reported as stolen in 2009 and another shotgun that he had later purchased and subsequently allowed his licence to expire.

The shotgun was exhibited in court.

Galea’s defence lawyer, Arthur Azzopardi, told the court that the recording of his client’s phone call to the police control room had been exhibited in the acts, asking the court to provide him with a copy.

The case was adjourned to January, for the exhibition of Galea’s phone call and for representatives of local mobile telephony service providers to confirm whether the number from which the call had originated, belonged to the accused.