Man who shared ex-girlfriend's intimate video on Instagram gets suspended sentence and fine

The court heard that the victim’s private sexual life was shared without her consent, with her co-workers and other people

File photo
File photo

A Belgian tourist received a suspended sentence and was ordered to pay a €1,000 fine after he admitted to having published a private video of his ex-girlfriend on Instagram without her consent.

Morgan Hayat E. Smith, 25, visiting Malta from Belgium was charged before magistrate Astrid May Grima on Monday. He told the court that he worked in the security industry and was temporarily residing at a hotel in Msida. 

Police Inspector Omar Zammit, prosecuting, exhibited two mobile phones and a tablet computer in court. He explained that the defendant had circulated a private video of a sexual nature featuring the victim, on Instagram without her consent. He was also charged with the misuse of electronic telecommunications equipment. The prosecution also requested that the court issue a protection order in favour of the woman.

Lawyer Mario Caruana, appointed to assist the defendant as legal aid, did not contest the validity of the arrest. When he asked the defendant to confirm that he would be filing an admission, Smith shrugged. A guilty plea was then entered on his behalf, with the court warning the defence that Smith was facing a possible custodial sentence if he confirmed his plea.

After several minutes, Caruana informed the court that he had discussed the plea with his client, who wished to confirm his admission of guilt.

As a result, the court proceeded to declare Smith guilty of all charges.

Zammit submitted that the victim’s private sexual life was shared without her consent, with her co-workers and other people. It had a strong negative effect on her life. 

On the other hand, the defendant had “cooperated fully” with the police and had no criminal record in Malta. Smith was due to leave Malta tomorrow, said the inspector. “He said it was a silly thing to do.”

The prosecution requested a suspended sentence and a restraining order in favour of the victim.

Caruana agreed, arguing that a prison sentence would not help. “What led to this sad incident is that at his home there is a saga between him and the alleged victim. What happened was a repercussion of all the harm he had suffered, it is not excusable and he is now bearing the consequences, but a custodial sentence is not ideal in the circumstances.”

Emerging a few minutes after retiring to her chambers to prepare her judgement, the magistrate sentenced Smith to imprisonment for two years, which were to be suspended for four years. He was also condemned to pay a €1,000 fine. His iPhone 7 and iPhone 13 were also confiscated.

The court also issued a restraining order, prohibiting Smith from approaching the victim, who is Dutch, for the next three years.