The way the police handled a drug raid at a man’s business place, following an anonymous tip, has been criticised by a court after it resulted that no drugs were found during the search that ended in the man’s father being hospitalised for heart problems and his rental contract being terminated.

The drug raid took place on June 1, 2021, when Police Inspector Joseph Gauci ordered a search at the work place of Mikail-Sam Mifsud without a search warrant.

The inspector was basing his decision on anonymous information reported by Police Constable Florian Farrugia -  that there were drugs in a truck parked in Mifsud’s property.

During the raid, the court noted, there were a considerable amount of police officers with flashing beacon lights on site. No drugs were found. Yet, this had a negative impact on Mifsud as his father was hospitalised for heart problems and the landlord refused to renew rent.

Irked by this, Mifsud filed a court challenge in which he asked the Police Commissioner to take action against the anonymous caller for filing a false report. This was turned down by the Magistrates’ Court on August 10 but Mifsud appealed the decision.

He argued that such a case opened the floodgates to abuse as anyone who held a grudge against someone could file a false anonymous report. Judge Consuelo Scerri Herrera, in the appeal court, noted that police had the right not to reveal the identity of an anonymous caller. For this reason, she did not change the decision of the first court.

However, Scerri Herrera criticised the way the case was handled by police. She noted that “it is not acceptable” that the constable who testified did not remember the time when the anonymous report was made and did not recall whether the report had been filed at a police station or over the phone.

It was well known that court cases could take years, which is why note-taking was important. She felt that PC Farrugia was not telling the truth and was purposely avoiding questions. One had to keep in mind a possible conflict of interest by the constable who had done business with Mifsud, she said.

The court ordered that a copy of the judgement be sent to the Police Commissioner to ensure better "responsibility and diligence” by police during such cases in future. 

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