The Malta Independent 16 December 2017, Saturday

Another request for disgraced lawyer Patrick Spiteri to be released from custody denied

Helena Grech Wednesday, 6 December 2017, 14:30 Last update: about 9 days ago

Yet another request for disgraced lawyer Patrick Spiteri to be released from preventative custody has been denied.

Defence argued that when Spiteri was brought back to Malta on the strength of a European Arrest Warrant, this means that he should be in the state he previously was when he left the country, and therefore not incarcerated but released on bail.

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The courts refuted the defence’s argument that Spiteri was brought back through a European Arrest Warrant to continue court proceedings in the case against him and that the warrant does not cover the prosecution against Spiteri but simply his return to Malta.  

Magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera, presiding over the request, issued a ruling to say that the arrest warrant does indeed cover the prosecution against Spiteri, citing how a warrant is issued “for the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution or executing a custodial sentence or detention order”.

Spiteri was extradited from Surrey in 2017, where he had been residing, to face charges of fraud and misappropriating some €7.4 million.

Maltese authorities brought him to face trial from the UK after three attempts. He had escaped from custody the first time, and on the second occasion he resisted being extradited on the basis that he had a medical condition.

Spiteri had been living permanently in the UK since January of 2014. He resided in a €4 million country estate. 

He previously made several requests to be released on bail, primarily citing health reasons, and that he is unable to physically access many box-files of documents he says he needs for his defence, some of which are held in court and partly at a Guardamangia property. All such requests were ultimately denied.

In the court’s considerations, it had observed that Spiteri had been brought to Malta through the warrant, that when he was arraigned after being extradited Spiteri made no request for bail therefore acknowledging his state of arrest and that he has been in custody for the past five months in connection with this case.

Spiteri is facing trial before two separate magistrates, meaning the request to be released was made twice, and both were therefore rejected.

Inspectors Ian Abdilla and Helga Debono prosecuted, while lawyer Stefano Filletti represents the accused. 

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