Police inspectors protest over missed promotions

Three senior police inspectors who were denied promotion to the rank of superintendent after a downgrading of their marks by the Public Service Commission, have taken their grievances to court.

Malcom Bondin, Priscilla Caruana Lee and Jesmond Micallef filed a judicial letter after their ‘pass’ was changed to ‘fail’ in a revision exercise conducted by the Public Service Commission. The review was carried out at the request of a third party, about which the three successful candidates were unaware.

The issue stemmed from a call for the filling of vacancies in the rank of superintendent, issued in August 2019. The three senior inspectors applied,  and their names subsequently featuring among the list of successful candidates published by the PSC in March.

But their results were downgraded following a revision by the commission,  without any notification being sent to the three candidates concerned.

A backdated explanation by the PSC was not “legally acceptable,” said the inspectors in their letter filed against the Commission, the permanent secretary at the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security as well as the Police Commissioner.

The three argued that having succeeded in the contest, they had a legitimate expectation that their result would not be altered.

Although the commission was empowered to vary results, that did not give it a ‘carte blanche’ to take arbitrary decisions which proved detrimental to contestants, argued lawyer Ian Spiteri Bailey in the letter filed on Monday.

In this case, there had been no wrong calculation which could serve as explanation, but the results had been varied because the goalposts were shifted and this was not acceptable. The PSC ought to have, at least, informed the three candidates and offered them the faculty of airing their views.

Not only did they get to know late, but they were also denied the right to file a petition to contest the Commission’s decision.

Spiteri Bailey said the commission was not “above the law,” and the principles of natural justice had been breached.

He called for the withdrawal of the revised results and for the authorities not to proceed with implementing those results, warning that unless the matter was resolved within a week, the inspectors would take further legal action to review the commission’s decision and also to claim damages.


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