The Malta Independent 12 December 2018, Wednesday

Court finds there are sufficient grounds to place Silvio Zammit under bill of indictment

Thursday, 18 October 2018, 13:07 Last update: about 3 months ago

Silvio Zammit is a step closer to being indicted for trading in influence after a court today ruled that there were sufficient grounds to place the restaurateur under a bill of indictment.

The ruling was met with stunned silence by the defence team who had earlier today vociferously argued that the Constitutional Court had ruled that his right to a fair hearing had been breached.

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As the sitting began this afternoon, lawyer Edward Gatt had asked the court to take a stand after the AG requested another 5 days to decide whether to summon more witnesses. “The AG either isn’t understanding or doesn’t want to understand. The issue of vital importance is what is the AG going to do with the Constitutional judgment that says he is breaching Zammit’s rights with every day that passes.”

“Everyone is not giving a damn. What does the AG want to do?!” said the lawyer angrily. Magistrate Astrid May Grima replied that the court was simply following procedure.

“The ball is in your court. You cannot allow the AG to continue to treat us this way,” Gatt told the magistrate.

Asked to confirm his name and address Zammit, 54, from Sliema answered in a low voice. “I’d like to shout but in here I cannot,” he quipped when told by the court to speak up.

Zammit’s lawyers are accusing the AG of dragging his feet with regards to this case, especially in view of the recent Constitutional ruling that the delay in proceedings are in breach of Zammit’s rights. The prosecution is insisting on hearing the testimony of Inge Delfosse, who is refusing to come to Malta to testify to avoid incriminating herself, before declaring their evidence closed.

After retiring to chambers for a few minutes, the magistrate emerged and issued her decree of prima facie, meaning that the court had seen sufficient grounds for a bill of indictment to be issued.

The case will continue on November 15.

File photo

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