A man was conditionally discharged for 20 months and given a restraining order for accessing his former friend’s Facebook account.
The court heard how the two used to work together at the Dolmen hotel—the victim had asked to use the defendant’s phone back in 2015.
The man, Michele Vella, insisted that she had left her Facebook logged in on his mobile phone, but the victim’s device said otherwise.
“I knew that his phone was an HTC Wildfire. I received an email saying that such a phone at the estimated location of San Pawl il-Bahar at 1:30am had reset my password by answering my secret question,” the victim told the court, showing the email in question.
The victim also submitted a pen drive showing footage of Vella crying heartily and asking her for an apology.
The inquiring magistrate, Donatella Frendo, heard how Vella knew the answer to the secret question—mother’s hometown—because he knew her mother was from Rabat.
Another employee at Dolmen testified saying that Vella had boasted, saying he had access to the victims Facebook account.
“Even if the plaintiff informed the defendant of her password, which is not the case here, this doesn’t mean that he has the right to pry and access her account without her knowing,” the court said, adding that these kinds of crimes were becoming more frequent at an alarming rate.
“This behaviour amounts to the violation of the person concerned and constitutes a villainous and violent intrusion in the sense that it was done against her will,” the court said.
It argued that Vella had shown remorse in the footage submitted to the court and though he had acquired unauthorised access to the plaintiff’s account, the defendant had not exhibited any similar behaviour previous to this instance.
Vella was conditionally discharged for a period of 20 months and given a restraining order for a period of two years.
Inspectors Edel Mary Camilleri and Robert Vella prosecuted.
Original article found on The Malta Independent