The Attorney General has filed an appeal against the decision of the Magistrates’ Court to acquit a priest of rape because of an error in the charge sheet.
The mistake emerged during the proceedings, which were held behind closed doors, when the victim testified that he had been raped at the St Joseph Home in Ħamrun when the charge indicated the location of the crime as having been Marfa.
The mistake led Magistrate Saviour Demicoli to acquit one of the priests, Fr Francesco, also known as Godwin Scerri, of rape, even though he found the victim’s evidence credible. Had Fr Scerri been found guilty of rape he would have faced a maximum of nine years in jail.
Fr Scerri together with Carmel Pulis (since defrocked) were sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison for defiling teenagers in their care. They have both appealed the judgment, attacking the victims’ credibility.
In his own appeal, the Attorney General focused on the “the court’s decision to consider a precise indication of the place where the alleged crime took place as essential for the consideration of finding guilt or otherwise on a specific charge”.