Judgment Day for Chris Said
Chris Said will learn his fate today, a month after he resigned as parliamentary secretary, when the Gozo courts decide on perjury charges he faces.
Contacted yesterday, Dr Said preferred not to comment, reiterating only he was convinced he had always done the right thing. “Now we must wait for the decision,” he added.
The MP could well return to the centre of politics if the judgment vindicates him but if found guilty his political career is likely to suffer a major blow. If convicted, he will be treated as a first time offender and could get anything from probation, a conditional discharge or a suspended jail term.
He resigned on September 23 after a court ordered the Police Commissioner to initiate criminal proceedings against him for allegedly lying under oath when testifying during a child custody case.
Determined to prove his innocence, Dr Said insisted he had done no wrong and was stepping down in order to put up the best possible defence. In accepting Dr Said’s resignation, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said he wished “the conclusion without delay of this legal process will allow me to appoint you in the same post”.
On October 4, Dr Said testified and pleaded not guilty to lying under oath during the child custody case that happened last year.
The lawyer of Anthony Xuereb, who is the baby’s father who filed the perjury case, had told The Times his was not a personal vendetta but a necessary step in his battle to regain custody of his only child. Mr Xuereb alleged Dr Said lied under oath to hide a legal move he employed when he replaced a court application for custody with an identical one submitted to a different magistrate in January 2007.
But Dr Said insisted he would have acted in the same way, even if he had known it would lead to such personal trouble for him because he was defending the right of a mother whose child was taken away from her just weeks after birth. He stressed he had no motive to lie because he was simply relaying facts, which could have been verified through court records. He had simply made a mistake.
Magistrate Edwina Grima is hearing the case.