Overturned Verdict: Maltese Priest Sentenced for ‘Homophobic’ Remarks Following Brutal Murder Case

News: World News
by Martina Moyski  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  May 31, 2023   

Guilty of 'hate speech' on appeal

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VALLETTA, Malta (ChurchMilitant.com) - A popular Maltese priest has been found guilty of so-called homophobic hate speech on social media after being acquitted in 2022.

Fr. David Muscat

Fr. David Muscat was handed a six-month suspended sentence this week after Malta's Court of Criminal Appeal overturned the original acquittal.

The suspended sentence means the judge can allow the 51-year-old cleric to serve probation instead of time behind bars.

Muscat was arraigned in January 2022, following posts he had made on Facebook in the wake of the brutal murder of a Polish student in a public park.

At the time of the initial acquittal, Muscat's lawyer, Mariah Mula of Mula Advocates, said that "justice prevailed." She added, "As the legal team representing Fr. David, we wholeheartedly believed in his innocence from our first meeting with him."

"Unfortunately, the comment in question was taken completely out of context and many had already incriminated him and unjustly tarnished his reputation. ... Today's judgement is our resounding reply," she continued.

Muscat's vacillating situation centers around the brutal murder of 29-year-old Paulina Dembska in Sliema, a town on the northeast coast of Malta. She was found dead and later determined to have been raped before and after death at the hands of accused attacker Abner Aquilina, a 20-year-old Maltese native.

Aquilina was arrested soon after Dembska's body was found. He told police: 

What has happened, happened ... do not ask questions that you do not want answers. I killed a person and raped her after she was brain dead. ... I killed her because she wanted to stop me. ... I was first unsuccessful with a man, but they were two and I reasoned that one person is better.

He also told police that Satan had ordered him to kill the Polish woman.

After the horrific details of Dembska's murder were revealed, outraged Maltese internet users  called for Aquilina's "public lynching." Only two priests publicly defended him — and one was Muscat.

Abner Aquilina and student Paulina Dembska

At the time, Muscat weighed in on Facebook, clarifying from a Catholic perspective that a person isn't necessarily culpable for all his actions if he is possessed by demons. It may, in fact, be the demons doing the actions. Muscat contrasted that with homosexual acts, which he noted are freely chosen and intrinsically evil.

Muscat posted, "If he [Aquilina] has some gayness or bisexuality, then this is another disorder added on top of schizophrenia and its malefic effect. The poor boy has a recipe of multiple disorders at the same time. ... Abner needs help; the lesser problem is possession. Gayness is worse."

For these remarks, Muscat was accused of homophobia by leftist state leaders and media outlets who colluded to find Muscat guilty in the court of public opinion. He was eventually charged with incitement to hatred or violence over the Facebook comments he made.

Abner needs help; the lesser problem is possession. Gayness is worse.

Malta's LGBT-friendly archbishop, Charles Scicluna, also turned against Muscat and joined the chorus of homosexualist outrage against the faithful priest.

Scicluna excoriated the priest, saying, "I was shocked as I heard and read that he said that being gay is probably worse than being possessed by the Devil. These are not words of love; these are stones hurled by a heart that needs to learn how to love as Jesus did."

News Report: Maltese Archbishop Defends Murderer?

The archbishop warned Fr. Muscat that he would be prohibited from exercising his ministry if he continued making inflammatory and hurtful comments.

For his part, Aquilina was ruled unfit to stand trial for killing Dembska after psychiatrists deemed him insane at the time of his actions.

Malta's LGBT-friendly archbishop, Charles Scicluna, also turned against Muscat.

As authorities try to figure out what to do with him, Aquilina is now being shuffled back and forth between a regular ward at Mount Carmel mental hospital and the forensic unit run by the prison authorities.

When it comes to so-called LGBT rights, Malta is the most progressive country in Europe, according to the International Lesbian and Gay Association.

--- Campaign 31538 ---


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