A Maltese national working at the European Commission who was found guilty of assaulting a woman and hurling anti-Semitic insults at her will be appealing the ruling.
Stefan Grech was found guilty of hitting a European Council employee with a plaque commemorating Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. The Italian woman had accused Mr Grech of calling her “a dirty Jew”.
The Belgian courts found the official guilty of inciting discrimination, hatred and violence against someone of the Jewish faith as well as aggravated assault motivated by racial hatred.
Mr Grech told Times of Malta he would be appealing the court’s decision and was in the process of drawing up papers to do so well within the statutory one-month time window.
“I have informed the Commission, informally, of my decision to appeal and I am working with my lawyers to draw up the papers to do so soon,” Mr Grech said.
Times of Malta reported earlier this week that, following the guilty verdict by Belgium’s Court of First Instance, the Commission decided to wait to see whether an appeal would be filed and, if so, the outcome before concluding an internal procedure on the matter.
Mr Grech was put on probation for three years and ordered to seek treatment for his alcohol habit and to work an undefined number of hours with an organisation that fights racism.
He must also pay the victim €500.
Insisting on his innocence, Mr Grech said the entire issue had been nothing but a witch-hunt by Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism. He argued that, during the proceedings, no evidence other than the testimony of the victim’s friend was produced.
Asked if, following the guilty verdict and pending the appeal, he had considered taking leave of absence, Mr Grech said he did not because not only did he have a family to care for but Commission rules stated that that action would only be taken once all proceedings were taken and he was abiding by the rules.
In 2002, Mr Grech, the brother of Nationalist MP Claudio Grech, was found guilty of possessing and distributing child pornography.
He was given a suspended sentence.
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