Joe Debono Grech acquitted of threatening police officer

Court rules that former Labour MP Joe Debono Grech acted in the public interest when he reported that a truck was blocking the Gozo Channel ferry ramp and insisted the police take action

Joe Debono Grech being conferred the National Order of Merit last December
Joe Debono Grech being conferred the National Order of Merit last December

Former Labour MP Joe Debono Grech was acquitted by the court in Gozo of having threatened a police officer last September.

Debono Grech, 78, had taken issue over a vehicle that was blocking the ramp to the ferry and accused the police officers of not carrying out their duty properly. He had also threatened to report the police officers to the minister and the prime minister.

In court, Debono Grech explained that he went to the police station to complain that a truck was blocking a large number of cars. The truck had an apparent brake failure.

The court, presided by Magistrate Joe Mifsud, said it was not a crime to report a police officer if one thought that he had failed in his duties, or when one disagreed with his actions.

The magistrate remarked that Debono Grech was an individual known to take action "so as to put matters in order".

As a Gozo Channel director he had taken action in the public interest by reporting the fact that a truck was blocking the road, barring some 40 vehicles from proceeding up the ferry ramp.

“Police officers should lend an ear to any citizen coming forward to ask for help or to report some abuse, whoever this individual may be,” the magistrate said.

Mifsud acquitted the former MP.

During the sitting, Debono Grech insisted on the case being heard even though a lack of details on the summons could have led to an acquittal. He expressed his wish of being granted the opportunity to clear his name.

Lawyer Anton Refalo was defence counsel.

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