Malta in 2010: where skinny-dipping gets you a prison sentence

Published: August 12, 2010 at 2:14pm
Thomas Eakins - Art students bathing in 1883

Thomas Eakins - Art students bathing in 1883

Is it just my imagination or have the police progressively gone nuts?

As an agent of the state, whoever takes the decisions in the force is turning life in Malta into something of an oxymoron: Saudi attitudes in the European Union.

Or something that is worse, because it takes place in the free world: American fascist black-and-white thinking, where in one state you get life with no parole for spitting at a policeman because of a law designed to protect police officers from diseases caught through having urine and blood maliciously thrown at them.

It might be just my imagination, too, but the situation is actually worse now than it was two decades ago, when if the police found two students skinny-dipping at 5am in an area lively with students partying, they would tell them to put their clothes on, give them a bit of a ticking-off, send them on their way and then chuckle about it.

Now they arrest them.

Now the police are shocked by such behaviour – skinny-dipping, dear heavens – and say so in court as they encourage the magistrate to hand down a stiff sentence and give the skinny-dippers a criminal record. Where exactly have these police officers grown up – in deepest, darkest Siggiewi, where their wildest summer night out was at the parish youth club?

They haul them down to the station, they book them, and they haul them up to court. Once in court, the students get a one-month prison sentence suspended for a year (it’s not getting any better at the law courts, either, it seems).

Think about it, and I mean really think about it, in all its implications. Is this good or bad? It’s bad. It’s verging on extremism. Skinny-dipping at night after too many drinks is part of human history, one of the more harmless parts. Nobody is hurt or harmed.

Everyone who is out at 5am is likely to have seen somebody else’s family jewels before and is unlikely to be impressed. People skinny-dipped when I and my friends were 20, they skinny-dipped when our parents’ generation were 20, and they definitely skinny-dipped when our grandparents were that age because ‘trunks’ were a luxury and if young men wanted to swim at night they just stripped off and jumped into Grand Harbour and bully for them.

Ah, but not in EU Malta in 2010. Oh no, of course not. The powers-that-be in the police force, keen to interpret the letter of the law (while contradicting its spirit) so as to have themselves ‘covered’ – what in English idiom are known as ‘jobsworths’ – have decided that any young people caught skinny-dipping at night in the dark in St George’s Bay should be ground on the wheels of justice and given a criminal record.

What a waste of everyone’s time – and how bloody awful for those of us who live here and who feel that the noose of ‘velyews’ totalitarianism is tightening round our necks. We voted for EU membership to be done with this rot and instead we discover that it’s slowly becoming worse as the Joan of Arcs in the police force, the law courts and god-knows-where-else make certain that those damned European infidels and their ‘velyews’ don’t sully our traditional and proper Maltese way of life.

It’s sickening. You’d think that Officer Plod had never seen a penis before, not even his own. You’d think that penis was flapping out of the pants of a 60-year-old pervert flashing at kiddies in the playground, the way he went on about it. Now being young and having a harmless laugh is against the law. Skinny-dipping? You majtezwel be caught injecting heroin.

Two Spanish boys –at 19 and 20, you can hardly call them men – were caught by the police cavorting naked in the water near Paceville at 5.20am, the magistrate was told. Don’t you just love that 5.20am? Picture the scene: the police see the boys emerging laughing and starkers onto the beach just before dawn. (“Dawk gejSSSSS, x’inhuma, Joe?”). They crunch their way across the sand – imported from Jordon some years ago, as it happens – and take their particulars. No, not those particulars.

They read them the riot act. One of them looks at his watch and notes down the time: 5.20am. They arrest them and take them down to the station at Spinola, where some sluggish officer is eating a sandwich and spitting food as he talks. The Spanish boys wonder where, in heaven’s name, they have come on holiday: Saudi Arabia? Afghanistan? Libya? Texas? Europeans are supposed to have an enlightened attitude towards these things, but down here at the rump of civilisation, Malta’s insecure and uncertain Europeans haven’t evolved that far yet.

The boys get taken to court, their holiday is ruined, and they are given a prison sentence and fined €100. And it’s all because they shed their pants and jumped into the water after too much vodka in the dark.

The prosecuting officer told the magistrate that there is a “huge problem” at St George’s Bay, especially at night, when “foreigners get drunk and swim naked.” That officer should be careful and not give too much publicity to this sort of excitement, or the next thing he knows, he and his colleagues will find themselves coping with the armies of (Maltese) masturbators who used to colonise the bushes at Ghajn Tuffieha before the beach was managed under contract and they were swept away.

I guess he wasn’t around in the Sliema fort area when I was that age and even younger: foreigners weren’t just getting drunk and swimming naked, but plenty of Maltese joined in too because there was precious little else to do. Maltese boys spent the winter months longing for summer so that they could swim naked with Swedish girls. That would be in – let me see, now – 1980? That’s right, and there was much more than skinny-dipping going on.

There was – whisper the word – sex on the beach. Before it became a cocktail, it actually happened. Nobody ever got arrested. The police were too busy elsewhere, beating people up and disposing of their bodies. Now they’re bored and spend their time picking up skinny-dippers and student editors and those who write rude stories. What a country, honestly.

Oh, and did you read that brief news item in last Sunday’s newspapers? A man is being prosecuted for making a coarse gesture at a 16-year-old girl who lives on his street. No, I couldn’t believe it, either. He has been charged with defilement and is being put through the criminal courts because when he walked past her he grabbed his crotch.

He didn’t unzip his fly and take his thingie out. He didn’t grab her crotch. He put his hand on his trouser-crotch and made that gesture which Johnny Hammels all over the Roman Catholic world make at those they despise.

You see it in films. You see it on the street. But in Malta in the year 2010, you now get arrested for doing it. Please bring back the days when the inspector down at the station used to simply have a word, and then only if he thought it necessary, and send everyone back home.

It isn’t my imagination. The police have gone nuts. They have discretion, and they should ruddy well use it. A person is totally unfit for his post if he is in a senior position and insists on behaving like a jobsworth desk clerk, too frightened to use discretion, to take a decision and to be answerable for it.

A man grabs his crotch with his trousers still on? Go on then, let’s play safe and jam up the law courts. Two skinny-dippers? Can’t have that: let’s jam up the law courts some more. And while we’re doing it, let’s turn life in Malta into somewhere Adrian Vassallo would love to be.

This article is published in The Malta Independent today.

94 Comments Comment

  1. dudu says:

    ‘Where exactly have these police officers grown up – in deepest, darkest Siggiewi, where their wildest summer night out was at the parish youth club?’

    As always Daphne, you seem to be implying that who was born and raised in deep and dark Siggiewi does not know anything about or has experienced skinny dipping or any other activity to which the more open-minded ‘Sliema’ youngsters are accustomed to. I was born and raised in a village which is probably deeper and darker than Siggiewi and skinny dipping was probably the least wild thing we ever did.

    [Daphne – You’re right. The deeper and darker the village, the bigger the boredom and the greater the perversion. Poor sheep. Or were they chickens?]

    • dudu says:

      ooohhh how funny!

    • Another Joe Borg says:


      A few possibilities come to mind as to why she wrote that remark.

      1.It’s factual ( ie. she knows the officers were born in Siggiewi )

      2.She wanted to elicit precisly the comment you put forward ( ie. a provocation )

      3.She meant it……..duh!

      I quite like the association between deep dark villages and perversion.

      Perhaps the Malta chapter of the Animal Lovers Association is lurking incognito in Ghaxaq……….please illuminate us.

    • Joseph A Borg says:

      I’m ashamed of my sunny and airy town… we do have a vibrant catholic population. Don’t hold it against us Daph. It’s a blessing and a curse. I’m coming to the conclusion that the puritans in town are in resurgence, or maybe we were always like that.

      Strange considering we had our fair share of airforce and navy during and after WWII. I assume they brought their proclivities with them when they descended on the town. It goes unmentioned though. As if nothing ever happened.

      I’m curious… maybe nothing really happened … and that’s more worrying.

    • Jam says:

      Great article… you’ve expressed my sentiments on the matter perfectly! I only wish there was some way we, the people, could put an end to all this ridiculousness!

      • P Gauci says:

        Dearest Daphne,
        Just because Musumeci is from Siggiewi, it doesn’t mean we all enjoy sleeping with cows. Give us a break, will you?

  2. Mind you Daphne, EU Malta is also the country where we have to justify the introduction of divorce and where the Courts state that one can’t put on a play that explores human depravity or a play that contains (heaven forbid) swear words!

    • “Stitching” is not entertainment. It holds the same fascination – for the disturbed few – as a gruesome car accident. Or those idiots who videoed that girl jumping off that multi-storey car-park.
      It has nothing to do with swear words. It explores depravity, as you said. Does anyone here think that depravity should be exalted? Show of hands.
      It has nothing to do with censorship, but everything to do with basic human decency.

      • And you would know, of course. By the way, since when is it against the law to explore human depravity on stage? Should we also ban works like Salome, Macbeth, Medea and Titus Andronicus to name but a few?

        Also, I find your equating exploring depravity with exalting it particularly peculiar. Maybe you should see a psychiatrist. I hear that the current Health Minister is fabulous at the job.

        Moreover, yes, the censors are quoting the use of swear words as one of their main points for banning the play.

        And the disturbed few who are fascinated by ‘Stitching’ are found in thousands worldwide, where the play has been performed.

        Yes, Rueben, these actions are symptomatic of a society slowly but surely evolving into a Taliban state.

      • Stefan Vella says:

        Maybe one day I would like to see Stitching. When I’m done I might feel elated, disgusted, indifferent or maybe amused. I might find it illuminating or crass for that matter. Who knows?

        The point should be simple to understand – no one should take that choice away from me. I’ll give you a “too-long-didn’t-read” version:

        I decide, not you.

      • Matthew Caruana Galizia says:

        “It explores depravity, as you said. Does anyone here think that depravity should be exalted? Show of hands.”

        How did you get from explores to exalts in two sentences?

        The solution is simple – and it’s not a ban – if you don’t like Stitching, just don’t go and watch it.

        Just as if you don’t want to read about people eating people, don’t read Francis Parkman Jr’s The Oregon Trail, or don’t go and listen to Charles Taylor giving testimony in the Hague.

        Or if you don’t want to read about people injecting people with horse urine, don’t read about the history of Imperial Japan’s Unit 731.

        Or if you don’t want to read about people having molten lead poured into their open wounds, don’t read about the history of the Inquisition in Malta.

        Or if you don’t want to read about men from Mosta who adopt Romanian toddlers to turn them into personal sex slaves, don’t read the Times of Malta.

      • @ Adrian Buckle, Matthew Caruana Galizia and Stefan Vella

        I think that you struggle with simple English. Where did I mention – or even imply – banning the play?

        I said was that by presenting the exploration of depravity as art-cum-entertainment (We are talking about a play here, in case it slipped your notice) it is exalting it. “All publicity is good publicity” sort of thing, you know.

        My comment was not about censorship. It was about the disposition of individuals who enjoy certain things.

        “Prejudiced” doesn’t even begin to describe you lot.

      • P Gauci says:

        Oh Adrian Buckle, poor you. A theatre producer who does not know anything about theatre at all! Didn’t you know that the tragedies in Classic Greek plays NEVER actually perform the illicit acts onstage, but only spoken about – usually by the chorus? Now I know why my gut instinct instructed me to never waste money on a play of yours!

      • Dear P Gauci,

        May I inform you that in Stitching, none of the action EVER happens onstage. Most of it never actually happens . . . The characters merely talk about situations . . . No wonder you never came to a play of mine . . . sigh!

      • @ Rueben Scicluna
        ‘I said was that by presenting the exploration of depravity as art-cum-entertainment (We are talking about a play here, in case it slipped your notice) it is exalting it. “All publicity is good publicity” sort of thing, you know.’

        yes, sweetheart, of course . . . sigh . . .

  3. John Schembri says:

    I was in Costa Mesa in 1984 and people used to go skinny dipping at night (they still do). If one is caught by the cops skinny dipping s/he ends up in court.

    I think that breaking the law is part of the thrill of skinny dipping.

    Your bias against our area knows no limits before you write get your facts right, don’t let imagination carry you away.

    In places like Siggiewi, Qrendi and Zurrieq they have been doing just that from their boats and other places where no police patrol can see them, naturally it’s still against the law…like in California.

    I am more worried about the binge drinking of these young students and how they are never arrested for being drunk in public.
    Swimming after pub crawling till the early hours can prove fatal.

  4. Esteve says:

    Yesterday I re-read that article a couple of times before I actually believed it was real. It makes me ashamed of being Maltese.

    “the noose of ‘velyews’ totalitarianism is tightening round our necks”
    I swear that is exactly what I felt.

    I really wonder where all this is heading to.
    A major liberal backlash? Not in Malta.

  5. Alan says:

    “You see it in films. You see it on the street …… He put his hand on his trouser-crotch and made that gesture.”

    …. thank god Michael Jackson never came to Malta to give a concert, ghax kien jispicca Kordin without parole.

  6. dery says:

    Daphne, You blame the police for this madness. I agree with you but you should look at who is encouraging the police by handing out these convictions and not simply throwing everyone out of court with a stiff warning about wasting the court’s time. Many policemen are just bored people with a few ‘O’ levels and the only way to please their bosses is by arraigning people and handing out tickets (they have a quota). One should expect better of magistrates.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      “Many policemen are just bored overweight slouching people with a few ‘O’ levels, a gormless expression and a badly fitting uniform.”

      Corrected for the record.

    • dery says:

      I must add that a few O levels is the modern requirement to join the corps. Up to some years ago all one needed was a school leaving certificate. Requisites for becoming an inspector – there are two ways: either brown nose your way up or enter directly if you have an A level or two.

  7. nude says:

    Maybe because they were swimming in the wrong bay because
    St george’s bay is not a naturists bay!!!
    Poor little malta

    • ciccio2010 says:

      Actually, St.George’s is a Blue Flag beach, or pretending to be one. So I suppose some rules may actually apply. Although 5.20am in the morning is a bit too early to start applying the rules…
      On the other hand, did I not read somewhere that it is government policy that Blue Flag beaches will operate on the principle of Public Privates Partnership?

  8. Dr Francis Saliba says:

    The police action should not be judged in isolation from the widespread disgusting antisocial vandal behaviour of many of these foreign students supposedly studying English as a foreign language but in reality making a nuisance of themselves annoying residents and tourists alike, because they find themselves unsupervised away by their guardians and the police in their own countries.

    • Kenneth Cassar says:

      Wrong, Dr Saliba. It SHOULD be judged in isolation because every person is an individual. Remember that they were not charged with anything but skinny-dipping.

  9. kev says:

    It will only get worse. The whole criminal justice system is a multi-tentacled organism that can only grow by enforcing more power and control over more criminalised actions. Agents of this organism act in the sole interests of the tentacle they serve. The organism provides them with the power and the means to further empower themselves on its own behalf.

    This is happening across the Western world. Ever-increasing criminal legislation creeps into our daily lives without our noticing. So while the local Keystone Cops harass skinny-dippers in Lilliput, the EU is itself creating its very own CJS, of which ours forms a part.

    Whether local, national or at EU level, agents of the Criminal Justice System are dehumanised androids who treat with contempt the citizens they are meant to serve.

    In the USA, the animal has gone out of control. The agents have deified themselves into demi-gods who rail-road citizens into the criminal justice system like slaves who need a lesson in obedience. The prison system in America is a thriving private enterprise with judges and police chiefs on its payroll. And that’s just a side-piece of the tip of the iceberg.

  10. Harry Purdie says:

    One has to love the rock. So consistant, A laugh a day. No other place like it. Truly unique.

  11. Albert Farrugia says:

    In the EU that everyone seems to talk about, it is NOT permissible to go around naked anywhere except in saunas and in specific beaches. And in these places there are also rules to be observed.

    Having naked, drunken “students” making a mess in the middle of a city, which is what St George’s is, is simply not on. Please do not confuse with being “in 2010” and being “in the EU” with a permissive anything goes situation.

    “In the EU” there are rules how one should behave in public, even “in 2010”. These “students” are coming to Malta with the impression that here one is free to drink as much as one likes, and free to act as one likes, a sort of welcome break from the strict drinking rules practiced “in the EU”. So “Malta in the EU in 2010” should actually mean more, not less, discipline.

    • Angie says:

      Your comment makes a LOT of sense. Thanks!

    • Joseph A Borg says:

      Agreed, but taking them to court was a waste of time and money. They could have been harassed a bit by the police: made to dress and taken to the station for their particulars. Swimming drunk is a hazard and is enough of an excuse to waste their time a bit at the station.

      AFAIK in Malta our police force has more leeway than in the US, where for a search and arrest you need probable cause or a search warrant or else risk some enterprising lawyer suing on the students’ behalf.

  12. cannot resist anymore says:


    Sorry dudu you walked into that one!

    • dudu says:

      ‘Sorry dudu you walked into that one!’

      arhem hej, I didn’t sleep. I was just pointing out that her prejudice which she displays every other article is a worn out cliche.

      Incidentally, when I was still living in the dark and deep village, young and immature, I also held such prejudices against the ‘peasant’ villager as opposed to the ‘open-minded’ ‘sliema’ type, but when I started growing up and meeting people from all over Malta, I have realised that the ‘sliema’ type are not that much more open-minded than the villagers after all.

  13. Mark says:

    No wonder these police officers flock to St. George’s Bay at 5 am.

    I quote:
    “There is a “huge problem” at St George’s Bay, especially at night, when “foreigners get drunk and swim naked.”

    It is most reassuring that it is not simply the nudity but also the drink that is worrying the boys in blue!

    The huge problem facing the police officers is that they are being distracted from more important functions that they are paid to perform … the list is endless.

    They probably arrested them because they were male … otherwise it would have just the norm that has been feasting their eyes all this time that hey have been facing this “huge problem”!

  14. Having one or two skinny dippings in a crowd of 500 is unnoticable, but suppose half of them do skinny dipping. I`m no Saint but I think it would be disgusting.

    [Daphne – How so? I thought we were made in God’s image.]

  15. sherpa says:

    Forget skinny dipping. IT IS HARMLESS FUN. One just has to go to the Gzira Gardens late at night to see what goes on there. Also the police should go to the Pieta Gardens on a Saturday night. It is full of naked perverts shagging each other in full view of all other males there masturbating and waiting their turn to be shagged. One will be surprised if the names of some of these people should end up in court.

    • Min Weber says:

      My friend, if you know that the law is being broken, report them.

      The Police will never take any action. It’s not that kind of flesh which they want to see.

      Still, if public gardens are being turned into what you are describing, then do your duty as a citizen and alert the Police.

  16. jose' manuel herrera (based in Valparaiso says:

    I am sure Carm Mifsud Bonnici will give a medal of honour to these coppers for safeguarding Maltese treasures! I am also sure the Catholic Taliban will approve.

  17. Spiru says:

    How narrow minded. I never expected such a sweeping stement like this from such an erudite thinker and writer. This idea that the deeper the village the more boring … is so subjective, below the belt, inconsiderate,visceral and incredibly short sighted. People in the village have their ways and means which cater for their ‘limited’ needs, which are boring by your standards, perhaps. And the idea of the perversion with sheep or chickens… absolutely disgusting of you. I really love your articles, but a pinch of humility would certainly suit Mrs. Bouquet.

    [Daphne – A word of advice: don’t let your antipathy towards me skew your thinking. You can have the men in white called in for those who claim that a Maltese village is more exciting than London, Paris or Manhattan. As for Mrs Bouquet: I’m one of those who the Mrs Bouquets try to emulate, ‘Spiru’, and not the other way round. I guess you just don’t get it, do you.]

    • John Schembri says:

      Daphne, you hurt Spiru and many others who were born in the villages which you often mention in your deriding comments. Could it be that the antipathy towards village life is skewing your thinking?

      Your snide comments were uncalled for and they will get you nowhere.

      [Daphne – I’ve lived in a village – more so, a hamlet – since I was 26. Get a grip.]

      It could be that a Maltese village is less exciting than Manhattan, London or Paris, but I ask you “why do foreigners prefer Maltese village life?” Maybe excitement is not one of their priorities, and they prefer seeing a herd of goats on Il-Munqar grazing rather than inhaling the smog while driving in the evening Manhattan rush hour.

      • Malcolm says:

        Sorry to burst everyone’s bubble – but as far as the rest of the world is concerned, people aren’t going to care if you’re from central Sliema or deepest, darkest San Lawrenz: by being Maltese you’re still from the arse-end of nowhere.

      • John Schembri says:

        You weren’t born in Siggiewi, and you don’t know how life was in this village twenty years ago. People like you look down at other people who were not born and bred like you were.

        [Daphne – Wrong. It is actually my own kind who irritate me. I find everybody else fascinating by contrast.]

        Only people from other towns and villages visit places like Sliema and Valletta, but not vice versa, so people from the latter places are ignorant on how life is like in a village.

        I suppose you find Bidnija more exciting than Paris!

  18. Wandwisp says:

    Police states are cropping up all over the place. Look what police were trying to set up in the UK recently. This time it didn’t work for them, but it’s only a matter of time.

  19. David Buttigieg says:

    I don’t know why you are so surprised – this is a country where – if busybodies peek into your house and happen to see you naked you could be arrested for indecent exposure or even defilement.

    Come to think of it I’m surprised these two lads weren’t charged with defilement considering there MUST have been minors on the beach.

    Seriously though, if the police had ticked them off for swimming whilst drunk (naked or not) then they would be right because of the danger to themselves.

    I may be completely wrong here, but could there be an anti-‘foreign’/EU aspect chip here? “We may be in the EU but here they do as WE say cos we are in MALTA or I’ll be damned” kind of thing?

    • John Schembri says:

      David if some busybody peeks into your house you have the right to take him to court . I think its called intrusion into private property.
      On the other hand if a passerby happens to see you in the nude , he may ask the police to prosecute you for indecent exposure. These are the laws in the civilised world.

      • David Buttigieg says:


        The case I mentioned of busybodies peeking iinto someone’s house ACTUALLY HAPPENED on this taliban rock a couple of years ago and the poor sod got charged with defilement!

        Malta, alas, in some cases, like freedom of speech and conscience, is far from civilised!

  20. John J Cefai says:

    Welcome mediocrity; in this case and in endless other cases. It is the reigning mentality in Malta. Back to the middle ages. I am half expecting to see some inquisitor from the past landing at the MIA with all of Malta’s enlightened dignitaries waiting in line to kiss his holy hands and with great expectations waiting for him to revive Malta’s moral crusade against today’s debasing values. In Iran and other Islamic countries they have the Moral Police. Therefore, why not in Malta?

  21. Hypatia says:

    My opinion is that the police are acting on their feeling as to what the Zeitgeist is in Malta. They seem to be acting in accordance to what they feel the present administration considers as what should be the moral standards of Maltese society.

    Not what they are but what they should be. Many seem to believe that the present administration wants a conservative Catholic, Victorian attitude and the police take action in consonance with it. Daphne herself has, in a way, hinted at this: in the 80s, the feeling was that a liberal attitude prevailed on the part of the administration where it concerned sexual morality and the police were correspondingly “lax” on this matter too.

    Film censorship, for instance, had been radically reformed by the government of the time. Topless sunbathing was tolerated on practically any beach in Malta (including on the rocks immediately below Tower Road) in the first half of the 80s. The ban on topless was enforced with the change in government in the late 80s.

    To my mind, we are now back to the 19th century when the influence of the Catholic Church may have been bolstered by the attitude of the British colonial administration which was Victorian. I think the influence of Victorian puritanism on Maltese society in the 19th century is still to be researched and studied. This Victorian approach still lingers on today in a certain section of our society, including some top politicians. Ironically, it is very probable that the attitude to sex during the time of the Order, when so many knights (including Grandmasters) had mistresses openly and sired many children, was more relaxed than in Victorian times and later.

    The police do not operate in a vacuum. Such laws as those involving “public morality”, which allow a degree of discretion on the part of the police, are enforced according to what is perceived as the wish of their masters. The police are, basically, civil servants and cannot be blamed for behaving as such. This is my view and comments would be welcome.

    • Spartin Plug says:

      Well said. Christian hypocrites on one side, and squalid socialists on the other. What a choice …

    • ciccio2010 says:

      Hypatia, judging by what they proposed for the new theatre in Valletta, I had thought that the present administration was loosening a bit on the topless policy…But you know the public controversy and rage that ensued.
      Sometimes you just have to take the top off to let the heat out, but not in all cases, or not in Malta, it seems.

  22. Jack says:

    Um, why use Texas as an example of an extremist state/country? I was born in America and from the contact that I keep with my American friends, I’m told that everything is quite liberal. The drinking age there is 21, however that law is rarely enforced.

    As you described officers of the old, police would probably break up a loud party if they were disturbing neighbors and send everyone home.

    So again, why use Texas as an example? Mind you, I pretty much agree with everything else you wrote.

    • StevO says:

      Whatever dude. I lived in America for a number of years. You obviously were not of drinking age by the time you left to know anything about the law.

      The law is strictly enforced, you cannot get into a bar or club without having to show your drivers licence to prove your age. You also cannot purchase anything in a liqour store without proving you are over 21 years of age. It is the main reason why pot smoking is so prevalent in the U.S. amongst teens. Pot is much easier accessible than alcohol.

      We were able to get our hands on alcohol as teenagers but we had to go through extreme measures to do so. In America you can join the army and die for your country at 18 but God forbid you drink alcohol. It’s a throwback from the days of prohibition.

  23. Chris Ripard says:

    Is it just my imagination or have we become a mirror-image fundamentalist state? i.e. it’s always blokes that are the victims. Coarse gestures, lewd remarks in meetings at work, filthy depraved stories . . . it’s only a matter of time before men will have to wear burqas.

  24. ciccio2010 says:

    I am almost sure that one of our MPs will now propose a Privates Member’s Bill on the subject…

    And by the way, what would the police, and the courts, have done in the event below, which took place in full day light in a civilised country, just last week?

  25. Claude Sciberras says:

    Daphne, I agree that the police should have just given them a telling off and told to move on. But the truth is that if something is illegal then it should always be illegal otherwise one would say that the police are using two weights and two measures.

    Obviously the police need to use good judgement but where do you draw the line between a silly prank and acts of perversion that might bother others?

  26. Min Weber says:

    While our boys are running after youngsters bathing at 5:20 in the morning, those other idiots at mlatsatr were busy dishing out such pearls of journalism:

    “Prior to his Presidency, Guido De Marco served as Minister for Justice and Internal affairs and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    De Marco died at 1618HRS after being given his last rights.”

    Internal Affairs, eh?

    Died at 1618 hrs (very similar to 5:20 am this) but after being given his last RIGHTS!

    I mean to say… can’t the boys in blue arrest these idiots for crimes against the language?

  27. Xejn Sew says:

    The police officer who arrested the two Spanish students was born and brought up in Sliema. His uncle is the police officer who kicked a French tourist in her stomach a few years ago, a few metres away from St. George’s Bay.

    • ciccio2010 says:

      Then the police officer who arrested the two Spanish students must have done it for kicks – maybe it runs in the DNA.
      On 11 August, the timesonline reported that “Police Inspector Nikolai Sant told the court …” – perhaps some connection with Siggiewi exists after all…

  28. Gordon says:

    I think that you have now gone over the limits and nuts. No one voted for the EU to see naked men and women. No one voted for the EU to see all the obscenities and immorality being committed on our island. No one voted for the EU to eliminate all our traditions and morals. We voted for the EU so that Malta will never be governed by dictators or petty dictators. We voted for the EU so that our standard of living will go up and not remain entrenched to the trenches. Those who voted for the EU so that Malta can become Ibiza or Spain or Finland are nothing but traitors to their own families.

  29. S K says:

    I think this stems from the very sad (I want to cry when I hear this) Maltese mentality of Malta for the Maltese. You can see it all over the times of Malta when a foreigner is involved. I hate that word now.

    I think things have got worse over the time I have been here. The Maltese hate everyone. Any argument about anything, parking spaces for example gets you a quick ‘I am Maltese this is my spot’.

    I have lived all over the world even in deepest Africa and I have to say the Maltese are the most rude, ignorant, hypocritical bunch of people I have ever come across.

    I would like to think it was a small percentage of people who ruin it for the rest but I see more and more its the VAST majority who ruin it for the very few genuine nice people… these people are often the ones who have spent some time abroad!

  30. Naturist says:

    For those who are not convinced I’d recommend Charles Sprawson’s book “Haunts of the Black Masseur: The Swimmer as hero”. Great summer read and puts things in perspective – skinny-dipping is NOT some sort of exhibitionism.

  31. Leo Said says:

    quote: “Where exactly have these police officers grown up – in deepest, darkest Siggiewi, where their wildest summer night out was at the parish youth club?”

    Daphne, Daphne ……… !!!

  32. pippo says:

    skuzani daph imma fuq din ma naqbilx mieghek, allura xi trid li ghax qieghdin fil E.U kullhadt jghamel li jrid. allra nghamlu bhall ma gara darba il germanja lili li waqt li qieghed munich wiehed guvni biex jitkessah miexi u jpixxi fuq in nies. dan ghalija hu qziez u iva il pulizija ghamlu sew li tellghuhom il qorti, halli inehhu dan il qziez. min jaf jekk imorrux pajjizhom u jghamlu hekk wkoll.

    • Stefan Vella says:

      I did visit Costa Brava. Skinny dipping between and during beach parties is rampant.

      I know, I joined in the fun.

  33. Red nose says:

    I hope sombody takes note of the serious piece Sherpa wrote further up. The happenings there are disgusting and if anybody is prepared to condone such behaviour, then we are really and truly heading for a big crash in so far as morality is concered. I hope the Police monitor such statements for action – i mean immediate action

  34. Marcus says:


    I see what you mean and agree with you that we’ve gone too far with these lads.
    2 weeks or so ago, I was watching Bondi Beach Rescue on Discovery Channel (or something of the sorts). A couple in broad daylight a with families and kids around, undressed, well the lady did, totally nude and her man started taking photos of her.
    The Beach authorities there (In Australia) very very politely asked the couple to dress decently, and enjoy themselves in similar manners in the privacy of their home. They did not book them, they did not take them to court, they did not shout or manhandle them and everything was back to normal in no time. Everyone, and I am sure so were the couple laughing about this incident.
    With the same standards, had this happened in Malta, we would’ve booked them for 5 years in prison.

    Dear Authorities that be and your honour the court, can’t you see that only one Labourite asked for us to become like Iran? The rest of us do not agree with all the hell you passed these lads from.

    I can agree the someone going up to them and decently asking them to put their underpants on and that’s that, but hey, booking them etc.. is another thing.

  35. Nanette Brimmer says:

    When I read this, here’s what came to mind
    I’m not exactly sure why, but possibly because I find both snippets equally funny…… in a ridiculous sort of way…. Oj vay!

  36. I think that before we get all hot under the collar and fire away at the usual suspects i.e. Catholic Taliban, libidinous liberals, the facetious freethinkers etc …we have to decide whether we are dealing with simple “bad taste” or somehting that is “morally reprehensible”

    I would classify both instances as bad taste. It’s quite childish to invoke the law to arrest a couple of drunk persons skinny dipping at 0520 in St George’s Bay. Were there any kids about? Hopefully not. Were people walking to their cars after a day’s hard shopping? Probably not. the only people who could have seen these two guys were “party people” like themselves who were probably too pissed to care.

    Then there’s the other guy who did his Michael Jackson impression. Another instance of bad timing, granted. But was it that bad? I mean you see men tugging at their groiun area all over the place. It’s not like he flashed her or anything…
    We have to let go of our ready rplies and learn to evaluate happenings and ideas for what they’re worth.

  37. Raisa Tarasova says:

    That’s an absolutely great article! I would also add something about dual morality in Malta, not only the police is the point.

  38. `We were made in God`s image`…No, we made God in our image,…we gave Him hands and legs,we gave Him a body to look like us……..

  39. Jon Shaw says:

    And like many of us we are aware of some other local beaches where people regularly skinny dip (and more) and at normal hours of the day. I personally have no problem with either but why pick on young foreign students and take it to that extreme?

  40. kev says:

    Keystone Cops get tough on skinny dippers. Four Italian dippers netted. Maltese Justice dishes out undisclosed jail term, but mercifully suspends it; nicks €100 off each dipper.

  41. Joseph A Borg says:

    They decided to cross back into Texas to spend the night and were on the bridge when Rosemary remembered she had a very small amount of marijuana in her possession. It was impossible to throw it out on the bridge so Susan put it in her underwear.[25] After taking responsibility for the controlled substance, Leary was convicted of possession under the Marihuana Tax Act on March 11, 1966, and sentenced to 30 years in jail

    that’s the USA for you…

  42. KVZTABONA says:

    They have sentenced another 4 Italian boys now
    U leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!
    Is it something in the water?

  43. Joe Xuereb (London UK) says:

    Hi Daph, your last line in your piece made my day. Thank you.


    On the 9/8/2010, at about 3.00pm, I was present at an established unofficial clothes optional beach at a small section of Ghajn Tuffieha bay, when the police booked three Maltese for being nude and a British woman for being topless. She told the police that she was flying out of Malta the very next day, but the police sergeant continued taking her particulars.

    Are we a European nation based on freedom of expression and full human rights or a nation governed by laws based on ignorance?

    I saw topless bathing in Muslim Tunis without any problems, so why is topless bathing a crime in Malta? Are tourists being warned before they fly into our country that they can be arrested for being topless or nude? Surely I do not think we want tourists to go back to their country telling stories of their innocent ordeals in Malta?

    Or perhaps we have so many tourists coming here that filtering tourists to allow only conservative ones coming here is good for our country? And when tourists avoid Malta? Perhaps the energy and water rates may need to be put further up to make up for the loss in income from tourism!

    Naturalist activities should be a choice as surely they are part of a socially mature society.

  45. Last week I rang 119 twice to ask for action against people swimming stark naked at Ghajn Tuffieha, who had inevitably attracted the usual masturbating perverts. We were there on our boat enjoying the crystal-clear waters but had to leave cause we had 5 children with us, all of them very attracted by the novelty.

    A police or Transport Malta dinghy had just popped into bay but obviously they came to check if any outlaw boater was overspeeding or breaching the swimmers zone.The nudists were not hassled at all.

    We waited for 3 hours for the police to come and see what was happening but they didn’t. Everyone knows what goes on on these beaches but nothing is done. They don’t bother me, but double standards do. So students get a jail sentence for skinny-dipping and these people don’t even get booked.

  46. m.vassallo says:

    Daphne, You obviously do not know much about Siggiewi! Perhaps this is one of the ‘few’ areas about which you know next to nothing, or do your really know it all, Madam Pontif?

    [Daphne – Siggiewi is just another village on an island that measures 17 miles by nine or thereabouts. It is not unique and it does not have its own distinct identity. Please be realistic.]

  47. Johnatan Seagull says:

    Good on ya Daphne! Also see:


  48. Jo says:

    Agree with your views on things, however dont think it was necessary to mention siggiewi in that manner.

  49. Peter says:

    When I was in Malta in 1963, Bikinis were not allowed.. had to be one piece swimsuits..

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