(Malta, EU) A Somali man was allegedly kidnapped and beaten by police last month in a racist-motivated attack had a long-standing mental illness. The victim was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. This incident is currently under trial in Malta.
Compilation of evidence against Rika Mifsud Gretsch, 22, of Floriana, Jürgen Falzon, 24, of Santa Venera, and Luca Brincat, 20, of Colmi, continued this morning before Magistrate Joe Mifsdo.
The three officers, all stationed at Hamran Police Station, have been charged with kidnapping, abuse of power, wrongful arrest, holding a person against their will, two counts of causing serious bodily harm, and causing bodily harm. He has pleaded not guilty to two charges. Minor injury, bodily harm aggravated by racial motives Brincat was also accused of abusing his authority, causing people to fear violence, carrying appropriate weapons and possessing prohibited weapons.
Another witness stationed at Hamran Police Station, PS Alexander Gouch, took the stand. “Around 11pm on October 3rd, I got a call from a colleague of his…he said he was on duty at the Victor Tedesco Stadium yesterday. [several police officers] I confided in him about what was going on behind his back during the shift, but didn’t go into detail.
Later, during the night watch, Gouch was informed that a female constable had been on duty with Brincat and Mifsud Gretsch, the court heard. They told her to go on patrol together that night and went to her Triq is-Serkin in Martha, the court heard.
“When they arrived there, some civilians were waiting for them and pointed out a dark-skinned man for collection. He was duly taken in a police car. I asked her to take me because I didn’t even know where this valley was.”
“She explained to me that this person had been beaten, knocked unconscious, and repeatedly kicked in the head and ribs before being left at the scene and dumped there. When I saw him sleeping, I woke him up and gave him a slap.
I spoke to [another officer], he told me about another incident…he was driving a police car while making radio contact with PC437 who told him to go near the gates of Martha. There they showed a dark-skinned person. Then the same thing happened and they put him in a police car and took him to the same valley. So they beat the man. he was punched in the face. As he fell to the floor and tried to stop his PC437, officers picked up a stone from the ground and threw it at the person’s head before they left. ”
The person who informed him was so worried that he returned to the scene to find and treat this man.
The witness then approached his boss and explained what had happened. This got the ball of internal investigation rolling. The witness was ordered to report to police headquarters’ Occupational Standards Office the next day, he said.
The magistrate has expressed satisfaction that 13 witnesses have so far testified in this compilation of evidence. Before adjourning the case to Thursday, magistrate MIfsud informed the parties that they “already have an idea of what to do regarding bail,” and urged lawyers not to file lengthy submissions on the matter.