Police officer who leaked report about Adrian Delia to Daphne Caruana Galizia fined €10,000

The police sergeant had leaked photos of an internal police report regarding an anonymous call about a man selling drugs in Qormi out of a car which belonged to Delia

A police sergeant was fined €10,000 by a court after it found he had leaked an internal report about PN leader Adrian Delia to Daphne Caruana Galizia
A police sergeant was fined €10,000 by a court after it found he had leaked an internal report about PN leader Adrian Delia to Daphne Caruana Galizia

A police sergeant who leaked photos of an internal police report about Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia to Daphne Caruana Galizia back in 2017, has been fined €10,000 and had his phone confiscated by the courts.

The case revolved around a post published by Caruana Galizia on her blog in August 2017, during the PN’s leadership election, which Delia eventually won.

In the blog post, titled "Nationalist Party leadership contender Adrian Delia replies to questions about anonymous report to the police", Caruana Galizia, who was killed using a car bomb in October that year, published a photo of an internal police report describing how the police had received an anonymous call about a man selling drugs out of a silver car in Qormi.

“The police immediately went there and found the car, which was parked outside Lidl’s warehouse, but it was locked, and the owner was nowhere to be seen. The police waited, and when the owner of the car turned up, they stopped him and asked whether the car was his. He answered that it was,” read the report.

The report went on to describe how Delia was asked if he was carrying any illegal substances, on his person or in his car, to which he replied in the negative.

“The police carried out an intensive search on the person in question and also his car, but nothing illegal or irregular was found. The owner of the car is a certain Delia, Adrian. Nothing more to report,” it concluded. 

Following a police investigation, the photo was traced back to Roderick Sammut, a police sergeant stationed at the Qormi police station and he was subsequently accused of having accessed the data without authorisation, as well as making copies of it and leaking it in breach of his obligations as a police officer. 

Proceedings in court showed that Sammut had logged onto the police system using his own account and had accessed the report four times between 14 June and 13 August 2017. Sammut had also ran a search in the system using Delia’s name.

A forensic investigation of Sammut’s phone found two photos “that were very similar to that which appeared on the blog and which were found in the phone’s WhatsApp sent items”.

Testifying in court, inspector Justin Camilleri noted that the cursor in the photos found on the phone was in the same position as that which appeared on Caruana Galizia’s blog.

The court heard how no calls or messages between Sammut and Caruana Galizia could be found. It was confirmed that the photos had been sent via WhatsApp. Furthermore, it heard Sammut had accessed the system less than two minutes before the photos were saved on his phone.

The court considered that Sammut had a clean police conduct and had given the Police Corps an “impeccable” level of service over the years, with “this being his only transgression ever” since joining the force. 

However, the court said that it could not overlook the fact that Sammut had shown no remorse for his actions. It also noted that his crime was serious one, and that this was exacerbated by the fact that he was a police sergeant. “Reports filed by members of the public, whether anonymous or not, should never end up in the hands of third parties or gratuitously disseminated.”

The court handed Sammut a €10,000 fine and ordered him to pay €1,091.50 in court fees. He also had his phone confiscated.

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