Former MP fined €200 for taking law in his own hands

Prof. Albert Fenech was said to have taken the law in his hands by changing the lock to an apartment he had leased out to a Dutch couple

Former Nationalist MP Albert Fenech
Former Nationalist MP Albert Fenech

A former Nationalist MP has been found guilty by the Court of Criminal Appeal over a dispute on an apartment leased to a foreign couple.

Prof. Albert Fenech (pictured) who won election to the House in 2013 but resigned his seat before the 2017 election to focus on his medical career, was fined €200 over the dispute with his tenants.

Dutch couple Michel Vat and Carla Winter, had leased a top-floor apartment in Sliema with use of the roof from Fenech. During the lease, Fenech was said to have moved into and occupied the room on the said roof.

The tenants objected to this, and when Fenech refused to leave the room, they stopped paying the rent and started to search alternative accommodation.

While they were away on holiday, Fenech issued a warrant of seizure against the couple who still had their belongings in the apartment. When the court marshals arrived he opened the door of the couple’s apartment with a spare key he had retained, and proceeded to change the lock – thereby dispossessing the couple of the apartment which they held by title of lease.

When the couple returned from Malta they found themselves unable to enter the apartment and also unable to take back their possessions from the apartment.

The Court of Criminal Appeal revoked the judgment of the Court of Magistrates, noting that all the elements of the criminal offence of “raggion fattosi” – or taking the law into one’s own hands – had been satisfied, including the intentional element “since it was evident that Prof. Fenech wanted to prevent the couple from taking back their possessions and took the law in his owns hands to do so,” Judge Giovanni M. Grixti said.

Paul Cachia was lawyer in parte civile for the Vat-Winter couple.

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