One of three policemen who stands accused of abducting and beating foreign nationals entered the force through the back door after failing some of his exams and was allowed to take a second resit following one-to-one training, Times of Malta has learnt.
Luca Brincat, 20, from Qormi, only joined the police force earlier this year after having been pushed through the examinations stage.
He is one of five applicants who received this treatment, according to a spokesperson for the Academy of Disciplined Forces, who explained how this was the first recruitment process which followed a new regime with stipulated guidelines of the Malta Further and Higher Education Authority (MFHEA).
“Being the first accredited course, the academy consulted with the MFHEA on the resit process and the Board for the Academy of Disciplined Forces unanimously approved the process. This resit procedure is available to all those who are eligible. To date, 182 sat for resits, while five who failed the first resit sat for the second one,” the spokesperson said.
Brincat and two of his colleagues, Rica Mifsud Grech, 22, from Floriana, and Jurgen Falzon, 24, from Santa Venera stand accused with kidnapping and beating up foreign nationals.
So far, the court heard that he and his colleagues picked their victims at random, injuring one so badly that he lost consciousness. Brincat was also filmed threatening another victim with a knife.
They deny the charges.
Sources close to the police said Brincat failed the main exam after failing to pass in two of 30 subjects and then also the resit. The subjects he failed included units about international policing.
According to a standing policy, he could not graduate the basic training course and the academy decided to remove him from the force. He was asked to return all his uniforms, which he did.
However, there was turnaround in just over a month when he was reportedly given individual training and then passed a second resit, earning himself a certificate.
Sources say there was political pressure from people at the academy who are close to Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri who, on his part, vehemently denied any involvement, telling Times of Malta when contacted that he did not know Brincat and had never spoken to him.
“The minister categorially denies that he interfered to help Mr Brincat in his exams and in any way in his recruitment process,” he said.
The case involving the allegedly brutal treatment of foreign nationals at the hands of the officers came to light when a complaint was lodged with the police internal affairs unit by those who worked on the same shift as the accused in Ħamrun. It was alleged that the three constables would go on patrol, pick a foreign national at random, take him to an uninhabited place in Qormi, beat him up and then abandon him there.
The court heard that the alleged violence had taken place at least three times.
The horrific story sent shockwaves across the country, with experts saying the police force should have stricter recruitment procedures that identify and weed out applicants with dubious histories.
Neil Falzon director of human rights foundation Aditus told Times of Malta that the case was “a terrible wake-up call for everyone” that Malta needs to tackle the growing racist and anti-migrant sentiments.