The Malta Independent 30 May 2020, Saturday

Former AG lawyer who joined Yorgen Fenech’s team had been nominated for EU prosecutor - PN MP

Albert Galea Tuesday, 19 May 2020, 18:38 Last update: about 10 days ago

Young lawyer Charles Marcieca, who left the Attorney General's office to defend Yorgen Fenech - who is accused of complicity in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia - was nominated by the government as Malta's candidate for the European Public Prosecutor's Office, PN MP Jason Azzopardi said in Parliament.


Azzopardi said that Mercieca's interview took place on 5 December 2019 - which is four days after previous Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced his resignation from the post - and that the EU had immediately thrown his application out.

Azzopardi noted that the nomination was startling especially given that the candidate should be "someone with proven and extensive experience in prosecution and mutual legal assistance."

Mercieca appeared in court for Yorgen Fenech hours after he quit his job at the AG's office

Mercieca, who is a recent law graduate and the son of former Labour MP Franco Mercieca, catapulted into the headlines earlier this month after he resigned from the Attorney General's office only to appear in court the next morning on Yorgen Fenech's behalf.

Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis described Mercieca's behaviour as "insensitive" and ordered an independent inquiry into the issue, although he is yet to publish the terms of reference in this regard.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, Azzopardi spoke further about the young lawyer, noting that as a state prosecutor with the Attorney General, Mercieca had decided not to insist on a four-year prison sentence for convicted Fisheries Department employee Francis Caruana, whose sentence was reduced to a three-year probation on appeal.

The claim was made by PN MP Jason Azzopardi on Tuesday

In 2014, Caruana, now 60, was charged with money laundering, extortion, misappropriation and fraud to the detriment of the Fisheries department, after discrepancies were flagged up during internal audits. After admitting to the charges, his four-year prison sentence last week was reduced to three years of probation on appeal after it was observed that the Attorney General had not insisted on an effective prison sentence.

Azzopardi said that Mercieca was obliged to inform his superiors before taking such a decision, but had failed to do so.  He additionally claimed that Mercieca had struck a deal with the fisheries official behind the Attorney General's office's back.

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