Cyrus Engerer: the facts about what he did (lest you lose sight of them)

Published: May 9, 2014 at 7:14pm

cyrus engerer joseph muscat

1. His boyfriend, Marvic, broke up with him after a very difficult relationship in which Engerer behaved aggressively and possessively towards him. This key detail is significant because it gives the context for Engerer’s subsequent behaviour.

2. Engerer moved out of Marvic’s home, but somehow retained a key to the front door. When Marvic was at work, he let himself in, went to Marvic’s computer, and opened the folders where he knew photographs of a highly personal nature were kept.

3. He selected from among them what he thought would be the most damaging (to Marvic) photographs. These obscene and highly embarrassing photographs did not feature Engerer. They featured Marvic.

4. He downloaded these photographs onto a pen-drive. He also downloaded videos in the same vein. He copied the email addresses of Marvic’s boss and office colleagues from his contacts list. Then he switched off the computer and let himself out of the flat, taking care to leave no sign that he had been there.

5. Engerer then went to his mother’s house, where he had moved after the break-up, and created an email address: [email protected] Using this email address, he sent the most obscene images, carefully selected for maximum upset, to Marvic’s boss – a woman in her early 60s – and to his office colleagues. This would have been a criminal act even if the photographs did not feature his ex boyfriend.

6. They informed Marvic and he went straight to the police, telling them that he suspected Cyrus Engerer and explaining why.

7. The police called Engerer in for questioning. He confirmed that he had had a relationship with Marvic but flatly refused to answer any further questions, citing his constitutional right to remain silent. He retained Franco Debono, then a Nationalist MP, as his lawyer.

8. The police Cyber Crime Unit found that the [email protected] email address had been accessed from Cyrus Engerer’s mother’s house and from the sub-office of Gasan Mamo Insurance in Rabat. The sole employee at that office, Rita, told the police that Engerer was her friend and would often visit her in her office, and that she routinely let him use the office computer.

9. The police proceeded against Engerer. At the end of the compilation of evidence in court (this is the pre-trial stage, where the magistrate decides whether there is enough evidence to prosecute), defence counsel Franco Debono brought out a pen-drive and said that there was “even more obscene” material featuring Marvic on it. It was – not at all subtly – suggested to Marvic that he should drop the charges or suffer more exposure.

10. In his appeal judgement, Judge Michael Mallia spoke very severely about this and wrote that it is clear Cyrus Engerer had tried to blackmail his victim into dropping the charges.

11. Marvic withdraw his complaint to the police (‘kwerela’) but the case had to proceed anyway because there were several crimes involved to which he was not a party. See also point 5 above.

12. The case went ahead. The magistrate ruled that even though it was obvious that Engerer had sent the pictures to Marvic’s boss and colleagues, the evidence was circumstantial and so she could not convict him.

13. Judge Mallia overturned this on appeal, saying that it was clear beyond doubt that Engerer had sent the pictures and that he did so with malicious intent to harm his victim. He also tried to blackmail his victim in court.

14. Engerer was handed a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years.

15. This is not about pornography and the distribution of pornography. That is simply the technical law under which he was charged. Cyrus Engerer’s real crime was that of stealing private photographs from his victim’s computer after entering his home without permission, then using those photographs to cause him harm in the eyes of his employer and his colleagues, hoping that he would lose his job or at the very least their respect. I repeat that Engerer himself did not feature in those photographs.

16. If you cannot understand what a serious crime that is, then you should question your values. And also hope that something so distressing never happens to you at the hands of a vengeful and vindictive former lover or spouse.




25 Comments Comment

  1. Edward says:

    “….defence counsel Franco Debono brought out a pen-drive and said that there was “even more obscene” material featuring Marvic on it. It was – not at all subtly – suggested to Marvic that he should drop the charges or suffer more exposure.”

    Isn’t that a crime in itself? As a lawyer, can he do that? Is that a common tactic that Franco Debono uses as a lawyer? As a politician?

    Franco Debono has often represented people charged for crimes related to drugs and got them off lightly – is this is secret to success?

    The questions just keep coming.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      I thought so too. This isn’t intimidating the witness, or even intimidating the plaintiff on the witness box, or even blackmailing the witness. It’s an attempt at blackmailing the prosecution, in court, before the magistrate’s very nose.

    • ciccio says:

      That was evidence of the crime taking place live in open court.

      It’s precisely what the judge wanted to see to decide that Cyrus was guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

      Since the crime was taking place in the court, Cyrus should have been handed a much longer term, without the punishment being suspended.

    • Jozef says:

      So it was Franco Debono.

    • Jozef says:

      The justice minister faces criminal charges, the Law Commissioner quoted as having tried to extort a witness out of their testimony and the prime minister implies persecution by the courts but ‘won’t’ pass any comment on court sentences.

      On whose ‘stakeholder’, will justice reform be carried out?

  2. ken il malti says:

    Reading this tells me how STUPID this Cyrus Engerer really is.

    Did he really imagine that he won’t be caught?

    • bob-a-job says:

      A true politician will never decide an action on the grounds of being caught or not but whether that action is right or wrong or ethically correct or not. Cyrus Engerer considers himself a politician but lacks this fundamental credential.

      Should Cyrus Engerer still consider himself a politician then he must pride himself with being Malta’s only politician with a confirmed criminal sentence and Joseph Muscat Malta’s only prime minister to have endorsed one.

      • ken il malti says:

        I am basing my opinion on the fact that he is probably a natural born scoundrel and even they measure the odds of being caught and punished versus getting away with their crime.

        Most politicians have a degree of sociopathy in their persona.

        It can vary from not even noticeable to “in your face” and “I can do no wrong no matter what” sort of attitude.

  3. lino says:

    The magistrate was Audrey Demicoli.

  4. Gobsmacked says:

    Sick ‘man’.

  5. Nik says:

    Once Judge Mallia made specific reference to the attempted blackmail as a material element, then he is also imputing that Franco Debono is equally responsible for the attempted blackmail.

    The Chamber of Advocates should take immediate action against Debono: I’d wager that attempted blackmail is a disbarring offence.

  6. anthony says:

    This is a very valid aide memoire.

    Does everybody realise that only around ten percent of the population can understand what Daphne is on about?

    Yes, ten percent.

    This is my assessment.

    After fifty years of dealing with around fifty fellow Maltese on a daily basis.

    That makes it around seven hundred and fifty thousand contacts ( I did take a few holidays).

    Not more than ten percent of that three quarters of a million would understand what Daphne is trying to say.

    The sooner the PN understands what I am trying to say here the better.

  7. Sparky says:

    Suspended sentence? He should have been handed a jail term. Such acts cannot be taken lightly.

  8. albona says:

    What a sick self-centred brat. And since he is the homosexual cover boy the whole of the gay community is tarnished. As if they don’t have enough to put up with as it is.

    You’d think there will eventually be a new lobby group made up of non-self-centred, everyday homosexuals (most are) who are disgusted by this parodying and pigeon-holing by their self-proclaimed poster boys and girls.

  9. Gaetano Pace says:

    What about that ? The champion of gays, the knight who stands by them for them and their rights, gets hold of his gay boyfriend, treats him cruelly and goes to the nasty extremes Cyrus went to. How could sensible people ever trust him again ? What does it take to make an idiot come to his senses ?

  10. Freedom5 says:

    Magistrate Audrey Demicoli – some years back I was summoned as a witness to a case before the same magistrate. I was in court at 9am. When the case was finally called out at 1 pm, she looked at the file and said that the main witness had sent notification that he was away from Malta, and therefore the case was to be adjourned.

    Having endured a four hour wait, I huffed as I walked out of the court room.

    I was immediately called back in, and she angrily admonished me for being in contempt of court for having huffed.

    Given that nobody bothered to tell me that I was there for nothing, it was more like contempt of Joe Citizen. Of course I duly apologised, and was let off without being fined.

  11. thealley says:

    This should be explained in detail as you did by Simon Busuttil during the campaign. Many are thinking it’s about pornography, thus reducing the gravity of the situation.

  12. Maria says:

    What baffles me is how Maltese people fail to understand who is in the wrong. When the naked selfies were released, swarms of people defended the girls and blamed the ex-boyfriends for sharing the images. Now that Cyrus was the one who shared pornographic images of his ex-lover, with concrete evidence, they’re blaming politics.

  13. Socrates says:

    Cyrus Engerer behaved immorally and commited a criminal act. Joseph Muscat had grabbed the opportunity to pull him to his PL flock. Now the Courts decided that Engerer should be punished, quite rightly and deservedly. Joseph Muscat is now defending Cyrus and referring to political persecutions.

    All this means that Cyrus has the wrong values in his brain. He is seeking to alienate PL supporters by blaming he PN. Like Cyrus, Joseph Muscat’s moral values are incredibly set on the wrong path, and he should be ashamed to lead a nation with such an irresponsible attitude.

    No wonder how Cyrus found a comfortable sheltering point within the PL…all of them lack values, or, much worse, they are experts in defiling morality itself.

    One day, and it won’t be far away, Joseph Muscat will pay a high price for his own folly.

  14. Hmmm says:

    I would like to hear Gabi Calleja’s opinion on all of this.

  15. Tabatha White says:

    How apt that this chilling photo has envious green as a background hue and that Manwel Mallia is “in the picture.”

    Whilst on the humourous level it is suggestive, what is not suggestive but reality is that Joseph Muscat’s large ugly mouth does it’s ugly work on the whole of the electorate.

  16. White coat says:

    Not actually off topic, but in today’s The Malta Independent there’s this news about Dr. Gonzi closing an international conference held at the Vatican. Read it. Read his speech. What a difference.

    How could we have let go such a man, putting him out to pasture so early? How could we have decided to replace Dr. Gonzi by the current corrupt lot who are in power because they hoodwinked us with many beautiful promises but then went on the rampage like a hoard of barbarians attacking a village.

    This is a resume of Dr. Gonzi’s closing speech

    http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2014-05-10/news/lawrence-gonzi-closes-international-conference-at-the-vatican-4933681152/

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