When still Leader of the Opposition, Joseph Muscat asked Lawrence Gonzi to fire his chief of staff, Edgar Galea Curmi, for making a phone call to then Commissioner of Police John Rizzo.
The story was around Cyrus Engerer who had recently switched parties from PN to Labour. He had made the switch in the context of the storm around Cyrus Engerer being accused, later convicted, of distributing home-made porn photos of his ex-boyfriend.
Cyrus Engerer’s father was arrested on separate charges of drug possession. He, Cyrus Engerer, got in touch with Edgar Galea Curmi. He had known him a long time because Edgar Galea Curmi was his father’s social worker and had been Cyrus Engerer’s godfather.
Cyrus Engerer told Edgar Galea Curmi his lawyer had told him to expect police action as retribution for having changed political sides.
Edgar Galea Curmi did not call the investigative officer to ask on the merits of the investigation, as Carmelo Abela’s secretary did with Inspector John Ferris. He called the Police Commissioner and told him Cyrus Engerer — standing next to him as he made the call — had complained to him the Police were using their power for politically motivated retribution.
The Police Commissioner John Rizzo told Edgar Galea Curmi they had had a report on Cyrus Engerer’s father when Cyrus Engerer was still a rising star in the PN. Edgar Galea Curmi asked John Rizzo whether he would please explain this to Cyrus Engerer’s lawyer. John Rizzo said he would think about it and then decided not to. Because the Police do not owe their suspects explanations on the investigations they conduct.
There were three people on that call. Edgar Galea Curmi, John Rizzo and Cyrus Engerer. One of them told Joseph Muscat about it. He promptly demanded Edgar Galea Curmi’s resignation for political interference in police investigations.
An inquiry was held which found no political interference had occurred and John Rizzo had acted appropriately. It also found there was absolutely no political motivation in the action taken against Cyrus Engerer and his father.
Here’s a copy. Manche Inquiry (1)
There’s an interesting detail that comes out of that inquiry report.
The investigative officer in that case was Neil Harrison. John Rizzo had asked him to report how the investigation into Cyrus Engerer’s father had started in order to confirm there had been no political interference in the matter. Had some government or PN apparatchik started this as retribution for Cyrus Engerer switching sides?
No, Neil Harrison assured his boss. He had known about this when Cyrus Engerer was still PN.
But you know. We now have the supreme benefit of hindsight. Neil Harrison and his wife Audrey rolled up the tagħnalkoll ladder, as did Cyrus Engerer and his new boyfriend. While John Rizzo was kicked out of the police.
Maybe the police action on Cyrus Engerer’s father was politically motivated after all.
But in quite the opposite way Cyrus Engerer had alleged.