Police blocking circus access to the Granaries

Police officers ensuring no vehicles belonging to the circus entered the car park yesterday. Photo: Jason Borg

Police officers ensuring no vehicles belonging to the circus entered the car park yesterday. Photo: Jason Borg

A circus agent is furious that he was still not being allowed to set up for tonight’s show in Floriana despite a tribunal decision ordering the Police Commissioner to issue the necessary licence.

Johann Said yesterday filed a judicial protest against Commissioner John Rizzo, fewer than 24 hours after the Administrative Review Tribunal had instructed the police to allow him to operate.

“I’m really angry – we won the case but the police aren’t allowing us to drive into the car park to set up for the first night.

“The police told me that they are following orders,” he said.

Several circus trailers were parked along the pavement flanking the Granaries yesterday as a number of police officers stood at the entrance to ensure that no vehicles belonging to the circus entered the car park. “Last night after the tribunal handed down its decision, we went to set up but the police parked two of their cars in the middle and didn’t allow us to get in,” he said.

In the protest, filed by lawyers Patrick Galea and Sharon Mizzi, Mr Said explained he had requested a licence to run a circus in acar park in Floriana until January 6. When this was refused by the police he went to the Police Licences Appeals Tribunal, which decided in his favour.

Despite this decision, he was told the Police Commissioner had again refused his application because of a new policy saying that open spaces in Floriana ­­­should not be occupied by circuses, the protest said.

He then turned to the Administrative Review Tribunal, where Magistrate Gabriella Vella ruled on Monday that the Commissioner had acted in an abusive manner when he decided to ignore the decision by the Police Licences Appeals Tribunal.

In the protest, Mr Said also complained that the Commissioner had objected to his request to reduce the 20-day statutory time frame to file an appeal.

Despite both tribunals having ruled in his favour, his right to set up in the car park was still being denied, he complained in the protest. The animals taking part in the circus were kept in a yard in Kordin, exposed to the elements, and this could affect them physically, the protest said.

He called on the Commissioner to issue the permit and allow him to enter the car park, saying he would be held responsible for any damages.


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