The Malta Independent 13 August 2022, Saturday

IGM calls on Attorney General to shoulder responsibility for bribery case blunder

Monday, 27 June 2022, 16:26 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Institute of Maltese Journalists (IGM) has called on the Attorney General Victoria Buhagiar to shoulder responsibility for her office’s blunder in a bribery case on Monday.

Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers were cleared of trying to bribe a journalist after the magistrate responsible for the case said that the Attorney General’s office had failed to specify the relevant type of bribery.

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The judgement was delivered on Monday in the case involving lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran and Charles Mercieca who were accused of trying to bribe Times of Malta journalist Ivan Martin.

“The Attorney General’s ‘mistake’ in the case against two lawyers who allegedly tried to bribe journalist Ivan Martin, is another case where journalists are not protected by the institutions that should be there to protect them and all other ordinary citizens,” the IGM said in a statement.

“Rather than stand by the journalist, the Attorney General erred, qualifying the criminal offence wrongly and forcing the magistrate to clear the lawyers of attempted bribery,” the institute continued.

IGM noted that the magistrate made it clear in her judgment that the journalist had refused the money offered to him by the lawyers and at no stage did the prosecution consider charging him with corruption.

On the contrary, Ivan Martin carried out his duty with utmost responsibility by not only refusing the money but also reporting the case that led the police to charge the lawyers, IGM continued.

“The Institute of Maltese Journalists expresses solidarity with Ivan Martin and commends him for having the courage to report the matter and urges journalists to continue striving to expose the truth through their stories despite persistent undermining by the country’s highest authorities. They will always find the IGM there to support them,” IGM added.

“Apart from expecting the AG to shoulder responsibility for this blunder, which we hope was unintentional and the result of inexperience in criminal proceedings, the IGM stresses that it is about time that the authorities start protecting the fourth pillar of democracy in a more serious way.”

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