Court told to speed up case of man jailed on false testimony

Emanuel Camilleri had been sent to prison after a court found him guilty of defiling his daughter who would later admit to lying about her father

Emanuel Camilleri, pictured here when he was released from Corradino Correctional Facility
Emanuel Camilleri, pictured here when he was released from Corradino Correctional Facility

The Constitutional Court has been urged to expedite its sentence in a case involving a man who had been wrongly jailed for two years based on his daughter’s false testimony.

Camilleri was jailed in 2012 for two years after a criminal court found him guilty of his daughter. The daughter would later plead guilty to perjury and to lying under oath in the compilation of evidence against her father. The daughter subsequently recanted her allegations of defilement, while further medical exams carried out on the girl revealed that she was still a virgin.

But due to the original conviction, Camilleri is now listed in the child offender register. Amongst others, this also means, that Camilleri would have to seek police permission if he has to attend events where children are present.

Addressing parliament this evening, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici said he was of the advice – after having consulted the Attorney General – that it should be the Constitutional Court to decide the matter.

Camilleri had filed a case before the Constitutional Court and, according to the minister, the Judge is close to delivering the sentence.

“The government does not have the authority to remove someone’s name from the pedophile register. The government does however have the power to recommend a presidential pardon. In this case, I however feel that it should be the Constitutional Court to decide since it is already involved in the case.

“Any decisions that should be taken as a result of its sentence, including the requests being made by Camilleri, should be handled by the court,” Bonnici said.

Whilst arguing that the presidential pardon is used in “exceptional circumstances”, Bonnici urged the court to expedite its decision. He added, that the lifting of the prison sentence had been an interim measure.

In a letter to MP Jason Azzopardi, Camilleri spoke of the hardships faced because of his name being listed in the register of sex offenders.

“It is very frustrating since I am in prison, only outside the walls. I say this because I cannot leave the country. If I were to travel to Disneyland with my family, I would have to ask the court for permission. I would also have to declare my prison sentence to the foreign authorities before my arrival. I would not be allowed to go and visit a place I have always dreamt of,” Camilleri said in a letter that was tabled in parliament.

Since Camilleri has not yet been declared innocent, his name still appears on the register.

“This situation has had ill effects on me, both physically and mentally,” the 50-year-old man said, adding that he was suffering from depression as a result.

“I ask: when will my life be given back to me? When will my family start living a life outside the courtroom? When will all this be over?”