Human rights NGO Aditus has demanded action against a woman who allegedly filed a false police report about a child abduction attempt by a foreign national at Għadira Bay.
Police confirmed last week that a man had been briefly held after the boy's mother had claimed he had grabbed the child while her back was turned and started to fondle him while trying to pull him into a tent on the beach.
However, TVM reported on Monday that the case against the man, who the mother said was black and of “foreign” nationality, had been dropped after police found no substance to the mother's claims.
According to the report, the boy gave a completely different version of events when interviewed separately by social workers, who were convinced that his story was accurate and that the alleged abduction attempt had never taken place.
However, TVM cited police sources who said the parents were let off with a warning. Police said investigations are still ongoing.
Aditus director and human rights lawyer Neil Falzon insisted that a slap on the wrist was not enough and that the woman should face prosecution.
The fact the man was a foreigner seems like it might have made it easier for the parents to pick on him
"Filing a false report against someone is a crime and the police should take action. What makes this even serious is that the fact the man was a foreigner seems like it might have made it easier for the parents to pick on him. This not only has an effect on him but also contributes to an environment of fear against foreigners," Dr Falzon said.
"The police need to make it clear that this behaviour is unacceptable: the man spent time at a police station and if his details had somehow been disclosed the effect could have been even more serious. Apart from that, people have been sharing this story and worrying about their own children - it’s a horrible situation."
The boy’s mother has since taken to Facebook to defend her initial version of events and to insist that the police have not concluded her investigation.
TVM reported that, according to police investigations, the parents had argued with the accused man and his girlfriend because they were occupying the parents’ “usual spot” on the beach.
The mother rejected this and other elements of the report as a lie.