Government MPs on Monday voted against the immediate publication of a report which found the Office of the Prime Minister under Joseph Muscat guilty of an ethics breach after journalists were held against their will at Castille. 

Opposition MPs Karol Aquilina and Therese Comodini Cachia pushed for the immediate publication of the report during a meeting of the Standards Committee this evening.  

Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis told the committee that while he was in favour of transparency and publication of such reports, government MPs would first like to request a ruling about the legality of the report.  

The government MPs accused Standards Commissioner George Hyzler of going beyond the functions permitted to him by law, as the detention case was the subject of a police investigation and court proceedings.  

Labour MP Byron Camilleri said the law regulating the Standards Commissioner’s functions specifically ruled out investigations into cases that were the subject of ongoing police probes.  

Speaker Anglu Farrugia used his casting vote to block the publication of the report pending the ruling. 

Comodini Cachia accused the government MPs of using the ruling to stop the committee from discussing and publishing the report.  

The report confirmed that on November 29, 2019,  journalists were stopped from leaving the office of the prime minister after a news conference with Muscat following a marathon cabinet meeting.  

The emergency press conference was called at 3am, after a six-hour emergency Cabinet meeting, after which Muscat announced that Fenech would not be receiving a presidential pardon, following claims that he could reveal names higher up the chain who had ordered Caruana Galizia’s assassination. 
 
Days later, Muscat announced he would resign.  

Last November three men, Jody Pisani, Mark Gauci and Emanuel McKay, were cleared in court of detaining journalists against their will. 

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