Former police inspector claims failure to reinstate him breached his human rights

Jonathan Ferris has filed Constitutional proceedings against the Commissioner of Police asking for compensation and for him to be reinstated  

Former police inspector Jonathan Ferris
Former police inspector Jonathan Ferris

A former police fraud investigator who claims he was abusively dismissed from a new role with the FIAU has filed Constitutional proceedings against the Commissioner of Police claiming that the resistance to his reinstatement in the police force breached his human rights.

Jonathan Ferris, a former police inspector specialising in prosecuting fraud cases, had been fired from a new post at the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit in June 2017, shortly after starting in the role. Ferris insists that the termination of his employment was illegal and abusive, the result of ministerial interference.

In a constitutional application filed earlier this week, Ferris – who had been a police inspector since 2011 – explained how in May 2016 he had been encouraged to apply for the role of Financial Analysis Manager in the FIAU. 

After the interview process he was selected in July 2016. He had informed the Commissioner of Police that he wanted to join the FIAU on secondment, as he was entitled to do, but faced consistent resistance to this. In fact, he ended up resigning from the police force and taking up employment with the FIAU without being seconded.

From 2013 to date, Ferris says, 26 police officers have been seconded.

But during his time at the FIAU, the former inspector noticed many shortcomings and abnormalities, whilst leaks from the unit over politically exposed persons and the LNG tanker deal started appearing in the media.

Unhappy with the trajectory his new employer was taking, Ferris met with Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar and Assistant Commissioner Mario Spiteri in May, where he formally asked to be reinstated.

Almost exactly one month later, he was summoned to the office of the FIAU Director where he was handed a letter of termination of employment without any explanation.

The following month, July 2017, Ferris made another official request for reinstatement in the police force, but never received a reply.

Since 2013 there have been 119 reinstatements, Ferris claims, arguing that he could not understand the resistance to his application.

He asked the First Hall of the Civil Court in its Constitutional jurisdiction to declare that the treatment he received is discriminatory and in breach of his human rights, as well as to award him compensation and to give the orders necessary to place him back in the position he was before the violation occurred.

Lawyers Andrew Borg Cardona, Therese Comodini Cachia, Jason Azzopardi and Evelyn Borg Costanzi signed the constitutional application.