The Malta Independent 9 August 2020, Sunday

Yorgen Fenech fails in challenge against Cabinet over presidential pardon

Wednesday, 15 July 2020, 17:04 Last update: about 25 days ago

Yorgen Fenech has failed in his bid to challenge the Cabinet’s decision to deny him a presidential pardon.

In a judgment delivered on Wednesday, the First Hall of the Civil Court, presided over by Justice Francesco Depasquale, upheld the plea which had been raised by the State Advocate, assisting the Cabinet of Ministers and the Police Commissioner in the proceedings.

Fenech is charged with being complicit in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. He had sought a presidential pardon in exchange for information about the then Prime Minister’s former chief of staff Keith Schembri.

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This was rejected by Cabinet in a meeting at the end of November last year which dragged on until 3:30 in the morning.

Fenech’s lawyers had filed an application to obtain a judicial review of the Cabinet’s decision, without, however, preceding their action with a judicial letter or protest which is an essential prerequisite when filing an action against Government or a public authority.

This shortcoming was pointed out by the respondents’ lawyers and the plea was ultimately upheld by the court, hence declaring that the action was null.

Indeed, an assistant registrar had testified that no records of any judicial protest or an official letter filed prior to the filing of the actual case had been found.

Fenech had claimed in his application that Schembri had done all he could to stop him from divulging information about him, and also that his rights had been breached on account of the fact that his pardon request was made to the Prime Minister who had selected and defended Schembri for many years.

In the press conference which followed the Cabinet meeting where the pardon was decided, Muscat had said that he had excluded himself from the discussion.

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