The Malta Independent 26 June 2019, Wednesday

Oil scandal ruling an ‘eye-opener’ in calls for Caruana Galizia public inquiry - Bonnici

Sunday, 16 December 2018, 12:53 Last update: about 7 months ago

A Constitutional Court ruling this week should serve as an eye-opener against launching public inquiries while criminal investigations into the case are ongoing, Justice and Culture Minister Owen Bonnici said on Sunday.

He was referring to the Opposition’s calls for a public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The government says it is not against a public inquiry but such a process should only start after the ongoing police investigation and magisterial inquiry are concluded.

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Bonnici referred to the case this week, where a court upheld an appeal filed by former Enemalta chairman Tancred Tabone, who had claimed that comments he had given before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee were in breach to his right to a fair hearing.

Bonnici said the oil scandal was the only case where a public inquiry (in front of the PAC) took place simultaneously with a police investigation, and it had backfired.

The Justice Minister said both the Attorney General and international lawyers had told the government that a public inquiry running parallel to ongoing investigations could prejudice the case.

The oil scandal scenario had shown that this was truly the case.

“We are not saying that there should not be a public inquiry but that it should not happen at the same time as the other investigations,” Bonnici said. “We are not about taking the easy decisions but those that are in the national interest.” 

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