Man jailed for trying to frame police officer as sexual predator

The man had fabricated Facebook chats between the officer and a 17-year-old to get back at him for chatting up his younger brother

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

A man who fabricated evidence to incriminate a police constable as a sexual predator for having chatted up his brother four years prior, has ended up behind bars.

Police inspectors John Spiteri, Paula Ciantar and Sylvana Briffa had charged Jackson Micallef, 33, with fabricating evidence intended to incriminate a police constable, misuse of electronic equipment as well as being a recidivist.

Micallef had been charged after an envelope sent to the Ministry for Home Affairs was reported to the police. The envelope contained a pen drive on which a chat between a male user and a 17-year old, including photos of the man and pictures of male genitalia as well as remarks of a sexual nature, were stored.

The pen drive was accompanied by a scrap of paper bearing the name and nickname of the police constable, as well as his place of duty.

The envelope triggered a police investigation, resulting in the the officer being questioned and charged with paedophilia-related offences.

A more in-depth analysis of the contents of the pen drive however, showed that the chat had been fabricated. The conversation was not flowing and some comments seemed out of place, the court was told.

Investigations eventually led the police to Micallef, who had fabricated the chat and had passed on the pen drive to the Home Affairs Ministry and the Police Commissioner with the assistance of a friend of his who was Chief Customer Care Officer at a Ministry.

During his interrogation, the accused had told the police that he had wanted revenge on the officer who had tried to chat up his younger brother at a gay bar, some four years prior.

The court heard how the accused had met the police officer at the home of a mutual friend - the customer care officer - and had subsequently set up two chats with the policeman, one under an adult profile and another posing under a fake profile of a 17-year old.

The accused had subsequently merged the contents of the two conversations and added photos from Facebook, to create the impression that the police officer was a sexual predator with a penchant for minors.

Micallef disclaimed all knowledge of the note accompanying the pen drive, suggesting that it had possibly been inserted by his friend at the customer care office.

Having examined all the evidence before her, Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech said she was convinced of his guilt. “The accused knew of the intended use of the pen drive. He was the one who amalgamated and created the fictitious evidence to give the impression that [the policeman] was a sexual predator who preyed on minors.”

The court observed that from the witness stand, the accused had failed to explain his full involvement in what it called the “reprehensible act,” despite the evidence.

Magistrate Frendo Dimech said that the man had done “absolutely nothing to convince the Court that he deserved a minimum punishment.”

Jackson Micallef was found guilty of the fabrication of false evidence but cleared of misusing electronic communication equipment. He was condemned him to three years’ imprisonment and ordered to pay €1,180 in costs.

Additionally, the magistrate ordered the Police Commissioner to investigate the third player in the plot and to take steps accordingly.