Will Gafa never learn?

Tista’ taqra dan l-artiklu bil-Malti

Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa has been publicly chastised by the courts again. What should have been an open and shut case of a man caught red-handed hunting illegally on a public holiday was botched so terribly that Judge Consuelo Scerri Herrera publicly berated Gafa’s police.

“With all due respect, with such flimsy evidence (provi fjakki), the Court cannot be convinced that the accused is guilty.  In view of all the deficiencies listed, the Court has no alternative but to acquit Jesmond Saliba of all charges”, the Judge’s verdict read.  “The Court is deeply disappointed with the investigations carried out by the police.”

So disgusted was the Court with the police’s pathetic prosecution that it went a step further.  It ordered that the Police Commissioner, Angelo Gafa, be notified that such procedures should be conducted with greater attention and that “all evidence should be brought before the court according to the law”.

The police’s prosecution was an utter disaster. All the work had been done for them by CABS volunteers who caught the man hunting, recorded him on film with a shotgun, and provided police with a detailed report including the precise location and time when the man was seen and his evasive movements for the next 25 minutes.

They even gave their film to the police.  All the police had to do was charge the man and call the CABS volunteers to testify.

Instead, the police messed it up from start to finish. Even the charge sheet was wrong.  The charge indicated that the alleged crime was committed at 6.10pm but the CABS volunteers had given the police the precise time, which was around 4.30pm.

The police didn’t call Christian Cachia Zammit, one of the CABS volunteers who had seen the man and recorded the video, to testify.  The testimony of another CABS volunteer, Fiona Burrows and that of another man, Thomas Borg, were not inserted into the acts of the case.

Without a sworn testimony of the persons who took the film and provided the report to the police, the court could only consider the evidence they provided as “hearsay”.

What was even more suspicious was that the film provided by CABS volunteers to the police was not the same as that exhibited in court.  The court noted that “there is a discrepancy” between the two films.  In the one exhibited in court by the police, the accused is not seen with a shotgun but merely walking among some trees.

The police who submitted affidavits about the case could not identify the accused.  And none of the police officers reported that the person in the film was carrying a shotgun or other firearm.  Their affidavits only stated that they saw a man walking.

Most damning, the police failed to call the witnesses who could identify the accused to testify.

When Jesmond Saliba was apprehended by the police and informed that they would be pressing charges against him, he refused to reply to questions and signed a declaration stating that he did not wish to consult his lawyer. But the police failed to exhibit his signed declaration in court as they were obliged to do.

The police failed to present any evidence at all that could have identified the accused.  They presented no smidgin of proof that the man was carrying a shotgun.  They failed to call key witnesses.  What evidence they had was not included in the acts of the case. The film they had been given was somehow tampered with before it was exhibited in court. They couldn’t even get the time of the crime right.

This is the tragicomic level at which our police force operates. If they cannot even secure a conviction when others have done all the work for them – identified the crime and the criminal, preserved filmed evidence of the crime, informed the police – then which convictions can they secure?

The tragedy for the nation is that criminals have a field day.  Those criminals know that the police are either so pathetically incompetent or so profoundly corrupt that they are unlikely ever to be held responsible for their crimes.

When a case so elementary as this can be so utterly bungled, what are the chances of securing convictions in more complex criminal cases?

Angelo Gafa’s complete silence in response to the latest public admonishment provides no solace that things will improve. Time and time again, the stark deficiencies, if not willful incompetence, of our police forces are condemned by the Court. But there is never a reaction from either the commissioner or his deputies.

The Minister responsible also does not respond to repetitive public censures of the police force. No inquiries are called into such abject failures.  No processes exist for the force to learn from its own “mistakes”. Those are the signs of a failed institution.

Great organisations admit failures, analyse them and learn from them. Acknowledging failure is the essential first step in halting the cycle of atrocious incompetence that allows criminals in Malta to enjoy an unprecedented level of impunity.

Commissioner Gafa should listen to those devastating scoldings. Instead, he demonstrates a profound deafness eclipsed only by his Minister’s blindness to the real danger to national security his force’s incompetence poses.

But Gafa’s police force also failed to convert €3.6 million in unpaid court fines into prison sentences.  The police’s failure to execute those prison sentences encourages more people to avoid paying. Those prison sentences are the only incentive for people to pay their fines.

Gafa’s dismal failures not only expose us to more significant dangers but deprive us of sorely needed public funds.  No wonder only 8.5% of Inferior courts and 4.9% of Gozo Court registry fines have been collected.

That’s a double whammy for taxpayers. We’re funding a police force that bungles the most elementary of prosecutions and which lets the few who are convicted get away without paying their court fines.

                           
                           
                               
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Joseph
Joseph
14 days ago

It’s nothing to do with puppet Gafa. The Mafia runs this country, forget about incompetence or not learning, everything is orchestrated. The institutions work, yeah right, pull the other one.
Look at the Pilatus case and so many other important cases!

Last edited 14 days ago by Joseph
Adam Borg
Adam Borg
14 days ago
Reply to  Joseph

Seriously no wonder we are in the state were in. All highly placed officials are in the pockets of the Castille mafia.

KLAUS
KLAUS
14 days ago
Reply to  Joseph

It was Joseph Muscat and his Governgang.
Now it is ROBBER Abela with his shabby team.
BTW: Angelo Gafa is a relative of ROBBER Abela?!?

simon oosterman
simon oosterman
14 days ago

The police has done exactly what they were supposed to do for a ‘friend of a friend’. This behaviour has been seen so often lately that we may safely say it has become common practice.

carlos
14 days ago

What a shame. Is it possible that such incompetent people are being paid from our hard earned money to do f.c all?
Mafiamalta run by incompetent persons of trust and by those at the maqjel.

Eddy
Eddy
14 days ago

Gafa only moves when Castile pulls a string.

David Gutteridge
David Gutteridge
14 days ago

But now they have a new uniform, and Gafa will make that this uniform will his corps work better, because the new uniform is work friendly. Pajjiz tal Mickey mouse.

Joseph Tabone Adami
Joseph Tabone Adami
14 days ago

Unless I am mistaken, the uniform change-over is costing the public quite a hefty sum.

But I am also confident that the new livery will work wondrous miracles – or miraculous wonders, if you like – with the force’s ‘capabilities’ at nipping criminality in the bud and securing the proper punishment, however heavy, for deserving criminals!

Mariatheresa Micallef
Mariatheresa Micallef
10 days ago

What uniforms? Those are tracksuits.

D. Borg
D. Borg
14 days ago

In such instances – where the “mistakes” committed by the prosecuting officer is far from what can be considered as an unfortunate one off oversight – it would be opportune that, the same irresponsible (at best) officers, be condemned to serve the full sentence that the perpetrator they let off the hook stood to serve.
Following the umpteenth “mistake” – Gafa should tender his resignation, or be fired, albeit the person who can fire him outright is turning a Nelson’s eye to far worse abuses!

A. Fan
A. Fan
14 days ago

With the possible exception of the judiciary, the various institutions that are purportedly working so famously well have actually been reduced to a pathetic puppet show over the past ten years. Little wonder many young people would rather live somewhere else, given the chance.

KLAUS
KLAUS
14 days ago

The way: criminal charges against the police. Criminal complaint against Angelo Gafa.

Francis Said
Francis Said
14 days ago

Another stainless steel nail in the coffin of democracy and the rule of law.

Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
14 days ago

This Government has weakened all institutions, especially those which matters most in any given democracy of the West, such as the police and the AG’s Office and this to make sure that control remains in the hands of the few, like ruthless polticians often do when they are dictators in the making. Little by little, step after step, opposition in Malta will become more insignificant due to ilts lack of proper political acumen and the rulers will continue to gain confidence and ground. What a pity!!

Greed
Greed
14 days ago

The opposition are null and void and have been for years

Greed
Greed
14 days ago

This dude that got off either knows booby or invictus or knows some very high up in the police farce or even the AG VB cause even our lot cannot be that incompetent surely,well probably?

Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
14 days ago

Prosit Imhallef. Analizzajt il-kaz sal-ghadma. Verament fakkartna fil-ghadam tal-fenech li mexmex il-kummissarju tar-regim, Lorry Cutajar.
Il-Kummissarju Gafa’ inutli jiffanfra bl-uniformi bil-‘baseball cap’ li, kif qal, giet maghzula b’hafna analisi u giet tiswa l-miljuni, filwaqt li l-efficjenza tal-korp hallieha bl’uniformi tat-twelied, jigifieri gharwiena, biex jissodisfa ix-xewqat korrotti ta’ dawk li ghazluh bhala kummissarju biex jkun taparsi leajli lejn il-kostituzzjoni ta’ Malta.

Mick
Mick
12 days ago

Wow, he’s right up there with all the total arseholes who run this dystopian administration, a perfect placement for a Mafia state.

Anthony
Anthony
11 days ago

Puppets, puppets everywhere. Now we will have another one – the commissioner of standards!

I. Gatt
I. Gatt
7 days ago

“criminals know that the police are either so pathetically incompetent or so profoundly corrupt that they are unlikely ever to be held responsible for their crimes.” Anything else said would be superfluous!

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