Prosecution Lambasts Defence Team in Priestly Abuse Appeal Case

Malta Independent
June 19, 2012

Dr Philip Galea Farrugia criticised the defence of the defrocked priests found guilty of sexual abuse, for their personal attack against one of the victims, Lawrence Grech, against whom they were showing hatred.

Dr Galea Farrugia, and Dr Elaine Rizzo, are representing the attorney general in the appeal launched by the two priests, being heard by Mr Justice David Scicluna. Godwin Scerri and Carmel Pulis, the former priests, were last August sentenced to five years and six years in jail for the sexual abuse of boys who were living at Dar San Guzepp, Sta Venera.

Mr Pulis was found guilty of abusing nine boys, Mr Scerri of corrupting two boys.

Dr Galea Farrugia’s claim of hatred was strongly denied by Dr Giannella de Marco, who lodged the appeal with Dr Joseph Giglio. She said the application had been written tongue in cheek and with sarcasm.

Dr Galea Farrugia said it was not true that the alleged victims of abuse had agreed among themselves to plot against the former priests for money. In fact they were so genuine that in their testimony they recognised that the former priests had also done good with them.

Criticising the appeal, Dr Galea Farrugia said this almost alleged that Magistrate Saviour Demicoli had decided for guilt to please the public. It was true there were discrepancies in the victims’ testimony but the testimony was given in some cases after 18 years. Because the abuse had been committed more than once, it was impossible to remember the exact details of what had happened.

The fact that the victims recognised that the former priests had also done them good showed that they are credible and genuine. Dr Galea Farrugia said there was a tendency for vulnerable people to find themselves close to persons who abused them and the victims had a sense of anger and love about what had happened.

For the victims to ask for compensation for what had happened, Dr Galea Farrugia stated, did not mean that they were not credible in their testimony. Everyone can make a mistake but everyone has to submit to the law, including members of the clergy.

Dr Giglio, who preceded Dr Galea Farrugia, criticised the testimony of two of the victims in regard to Mr Scerri and Magistrate Demicoli for deciding the case by relying only on certain statements.

Mr Scerri had been found guilty of corrupting a minor but the court had not found him guilty of this corruption when he was responsible for looking after the children. Magistrate Demicoli had not believed the alleged victim when testifying that Mr Scerri looked after them. How true could it be when the same victim said the former priests would enter rooms where there were 10 children, to abuse them?

Dr Giglio said the victims had the opportunity to speak to social workers but never reported any abuse. The magistrates’ court had not taken into consideration the testimony of a foster parent who contradicted what another victim had said, reporting the victim telling her that he was happy at Dar San Guzepp and that the “fathers” loved him.

Dr Giglio said Mr Scerri had been abroad for a long time when the claimed abuse occurred, and there was nothing to conclude that Mr Scerri should be found guilty of corrupting a minor who claimed that Mr Scerri touched his genitals.

The case is to continue on 6 July when TV presenter Lou Bondi is to be called to confirm that he was the author of certain blogs about the case. Mr Bondi has said that one of the victims, Lawrence Grech, had lied to him more than once when he was helping him in the case, and that Mr Grech’s aim was to publicise the story to make money out of it, and had even tried to make money from the BBC.








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