Anton Refalot, the former Minister for Gozo, has taken to social media to thank his supporters and open up after being cleared of attacking his own son in a controversial case involving revenge porn and a magistrate dismissing a police officer’s testimony as hearsay.
“First of all, I want to express my thankfulness for the support during a hard time. A very heartfelt thank you! It is difficult to find the right words to comment upon a family matter that has been made public. It is the right of the press to write within the frames of Freedom of Speech. But since I am once again in the news, there are comments that also I need to make,” he said in a Facebook post.
“It is part of a politician’s life to be in the public spotlight for good or for bad.
I am used to it.
However, it is a vulnerable situation when family is being brought into it, too.
Supporting comments from so many of you are much appreciated, yet I need to underline, should it be unclear,” he continued.
“Everybody has a right to dignity.
Everybody is equal to the Law. It is human to fail. But it is also part of life to love, forgive and to improve, wanting the best for all of us.”
Many of his supporters left words of encouragement in response to his status
One man agreed with the traditional form of discipline, saying: “Keep strong. U jekk ikun hemm bżonn tikkoregi lit tfal, tiddejjaq xejn la jkun għal ġid tagħhom (And if there is a need to correct children, do not hold back since it is for their own good)“
One man said: “Anton it is human to fail but you did not fail. You are a gentleman. I can vouch for this. Keep strong buddy.”
Pictured above: Anton Refalo
Refalo was accused of beating up his son after discovering his son had been sharing revenge porn involving the latter’s ex-girlfriend
The case led to several strong reactions all over the island, with some saying Refalo was right to discipline his son, and others saying that domestic violence should always be condemned.
The case was overseen by Magistrate Joe Mifsud, who threw out the charges over a lack of evidence.
While a doctor had confirmed Refalo’s son’ slight injuries, Refalo’s wife and son were exempted from testifying, meaning the case relied on one police officer’s testimony.
“Apart from the police officer’s testimony, which is mere hearsay, and is therefore inadmissible as evidence, this case is marked by a lack of proof which can substantiate the claim,” the magistrate said.
He said that according to criminal procedure, any evidence should be thrown out as hearsay if: “first, the person originally stating the facts does not state them on oath, and secondly, that the person against whom the evidence is offered had not the opportunity of cross-examining that other person as to his recollection, veracity or means of knowledge”.
Maltese domestic violence law enables the police force to charge a person with a crime without the victim’s consent.
Back in 2016, Magistrate Joe Mifsud had reportedly worked as a consultant to the Ministry of Gozo, just before being nominated as Magistrate, according to the Times of Malta.