“Obsessed” is how a court witness described a Transport Malta executive accused of harassing one of his female co-workers.
Albert Mark Sammut, a manager at Transport Malta, took the witness stand this morning as Magistrate Astrid May Grima continued to hear evidence against 49-year-old Clifford Micallef from Dingli.
Asked how he knew the defendant, Sammut said he had worked with him at the Port Security Office Transport Malta in Lija in late 2021.
“I noted that Mr Micallef was obsessed…” Sammut began, before being cut off by defence lawyer Albert Zerafa, who repeated the date he had mentioned.
“He was obsessed with [the woman],” continued the witness. “In the eight hours I’d spend working with him it’d be [her name], [her name],[her name].”
The witness recounted that the accused would tell him stories, that “he’d go with her here and there”, implying that Micallef would claim to have sexual encounters with the alleged victim.
The court asked the witness whether he had ever actually seen anything to suggest this was true.
“No,” he replied. Sammut said he would travel in Micallef’s car sometimes on their way to outside inspections. “One time we ended up in a street in Tarxien. I asked him ‘what are we doing here?’, and he told me that she lived there. I said ‘why should I care?’”
On another day, Micallef had driven the witness to a Birkirkara shop where the woman worked part time, looking for her. Answering a question put to him by parte civile lawyer Marita Pace Dimech, the witness recalled how, during that drive, Micallef had also pointed out the woman’s regular parking spot to him.
The third time Sammut had found himself being taken on a hunt for the woman, he had told Micallef not to do so again, stating that he did not want to become involved in whatever was going on. “He told me ‘don’t worry, I have a lot of clout with the minister and the chief of staff.’ One day he even showed me a conversation with Ian Borg and Jesmond Zammit on his mobile phone.”
Asked how the woman would react to Micallef’s attention, he said she would “push him away.”
When Sammut would return from leave, the woman would tell him that Micallef had “spent a whole day in her office.”
The following April, Sammut said, he had taken the decision to tell his superior that he didn’t want to work with the defendant any more. The obsessive behaviour was one of several reasons, he said.
“I was his friend and I would tell him not to do stupid things and remind him that he had a wife and children… I would tell him ‘you don’t need this trouble. To stop working with him, I spoke to my superior, Prof. David Attard, and he transferred me away.”
In June 2022 the director of the department where the woman worked, Jesmond Grima, had sent for the witness and asked him about his hours. Sammut said he answered that they worked Monday to Friday. ”So can you tell me what Clifford is doing on Saturdays and Sundays at the ports and going around cafes in the area?” the witness recalled Grima as replying.
Sammut testified that Prof. Attard had told him that he did not want Micallef working in the Marsa port area, where the alleged victim worked. Attard had spotted the witness outside a meeting which the professor had been attending. “He told me ‘if you have contact with [the woman], warn her that Clifford had just told me that wants to throw her off a cliff.”
Replying to a question from Zerafa, Sammut confirmed that the defendant would tell him that the woman “would chase him in her car, overtake him and take photos of him.”
“When he said this, I started laughing and told him [the woman] doesn’t even have time to eat at work.”
The case continues in April.