The Malta Independent 22 September 2017, Friday

Birkirkara incident ‘sparked by domestic violence, not car crash’

Wednesday, 14 June 2017, 10:01 Last update: about 4 months ago

Last Sunday, David Joseph Gauci and a former police inspector were involved in an aggressive fight in Birkirkara. Sections of the media reported that the fight, which took place in front of Gauci’s home, was sparked by a car crash. But according to Gauci’s partner Michaela, who is undergoing separation proceedings with the former inspector, the real reason was an ongoing case of domestic violence.

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Michaela and Moira Gauci, David’s mother, alleged to The Malta Independent that what happened on Sunday was another episode in a domestic violence case going back approximately a decade, intertwined with a series of protection orders and domestic violence reports.

The former inspector has been involved in numerous court proceedings over his behaviour and faced disciplinary proceedings and was even suspended from the force. The two told this newspaper they smell something “fishy” with how, throughout the years, reports against him have “not been addressed properly.”

Michaela (above) tells the story from her perspective, saying how she went to pick up her (and the former inspector’s) two daughters from his house and found him seemingly under the influence. An argument about a frame ensued and, instead of fighting back, she got in her car with the children to drive away. She claims that the man crashed his car into her parked vehicle before she could leave. As she drove off, he allegedly approached her in the wrong lane and broke off her car mirror.

Michaela explained that, as per the separation decree, the children spend one week with the mother and the next with their father.

“This was the third car he’s damaged for me, and I have police reports for all of them,” she said, holding about eight reports in her hands. “This is just a taste of the reports I have,” she said, saying that the reports go back about ten years.

She recalls how she called up her partner David Gauci and told him about the incident, and he told her to pick him up before going to the police station, as the car belongs to him and the police will want to ask him questions about the vehicle.

“The police always tell me to go straight to the station rather than taking law into my own hands, so that is what I always do,” she said.

(The former inspector being led away by police officers who responded to the distress call - Photo TVM)

She claims that, upon arriving in front of her house, she found the former police inspector waiting. Michaela went on to say that he did a U-turn and tried to get into her car window and started hitting her. This happened in front of their children.

“One of our daughters, the nine year old, was in the front seat near me shouting to her father to leave me alone, whilst the younger one, the six year old, was at the back crying her eyes out,” she said.

At that moment, Michaela called up Gauci to come downstairs and help her, whilst there was a lot of commotion from around, and people got off a bus and tried to help.  “My daughters are traumatized. Children shouldn’t be trying to stop their father from beating their mother,” she said.

“He grabbed my mobile and broke it in half. When he failed to get into my car he went to attack David,” she said, explaining that Gauci was telling her to drive away. She later stated that her estranged husband breaks her phone “every time, because he knows I have incriminating evidence on my phone”.

Continuing, she said “I drove five meters, and saw an off-duty police officer and shouted at him for help. Other people were getting scared to intervene at this point.”

She said the former inspector tried to force his way inside the house to attack Gauci and started provoking him. The off-duty policeman was trying to hold him back. At this point the children were still inside the car, in the middle of the road.

Gauci managed to get her estranged husband out of the antiporta, only to be targeted again. He defended himself by lashing out twice at the former inspector.

“I then went back to the car and drove to the police station, while David remained in the house,” she explained, continuing that, after she left, her estranged husband “insulted and swore at David to goad him to fight.”

“David only did what he did to help the situation,” said Moira Gauci, David’s mother (above). “It is not fair that my son ends up in prison for protecting his partner, himself and the kids.”

She explained that her son who in the past had a drug problem and a criminal record had been clean for several years and had changed his life around. 

“Something stinks with regard to the former inspector’s case. It is not being taken seriously.”

Michaela added that the police did not perform any breathalyzer tests on the former inspector after Sunday’s incident.

Both Michaela and Moira are furious that David was held in custody yesterday, having been denied bail after pleading not guilty to grievously injuring the former inspector, damaging his car and breaching the public place. Meanwhile, the former inspector has been released on bail.  Both in court and in the interview, the two women called this “a huge injustice.”

(Michaela says she has been a victim of domestic violence for over a decade. This photo is not related to Sunday's incident)

Michaela told this newspaper that besides the numerous police reports of domestic violence, a protection order was also issued in her favour after receiving many threats from the former inspector.

“We have messages stating that it is his mission in life to send David to jail,” she said, showing the messages on her phone. She explains how these threats have been going on for a year now, ever since she met David, who “gave her the courage to leave the previous relationship in which domestic violence was going on for about ten years.” Michaela says they have often been followed in the car, resulting in signals of threats, such as hand actions to Gauci threatening that he will kill him.

“I get scared to go and pick up my kids from his house,” she said, showing photos of instances when it has ended up in extreme violence.

Besides being frustrated that not much has been done to protect her, she explains how the issue regarding the former inspector is “not being addressed properly by the police,” especially providing that he is still part of the police corps, she said. 

She persistently alleged that “he is a police inspector rather than an ex-police inspector because he is still on the payroll, he is still under police jurisdiction, just suspended, however he is still their employee. He just does not perform duties.”

Moira and Michaela said that they have spoken about their case with Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar, along with Michaela’s lawyer, and that he (the commissioner) “was very casual about it.”

“He (the former inspector) is his employee. He is beating me up and destroying my life and he’s taking it so casually,” she said. “Why is he taking it so casually?”

The case is expected to be assigned to a magistrate today.

 

*The court banned the publication of the former police inspector’s name in that case, in order to protect the children of the separating couple. Michaela is not referred to by her surname as revealing it will be a breach to the ban.

 

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