The Office of the Prime Minister under former prime minister Joseph Muscat has been found guilty of an ethics breach after journalists were held against their will at Castille during the 2019 political crisis.

On November 29, journalists were stopped from leaving the office of the prime minister after a news conference with Muscat following a marathon cabinet meeting. 

The Commissioner for Standards in Public Life was tasked with investigating the matter following a complaint by the Institute of Maltese Journalists (IĠM). 

Sources told Times of Malta that a copy of the report has been forwarded to speaker Anġlu Farrugia, who in turn has shared a copy with members of the parliamentary committee for Standards in Public Life. 

When a report is not published by the Standards Commission and instead passed to the speaker it means that the report has concluded that there has been a prima facie breach of the ethics code. 

It is now up to the committee, which is chaired by Farrugia and includes PN MPs Karol Aquilina and Carm Mifsud Bonnici as well as Labour MPs Byron Camilleri and Edward Zammit Lewis, to vote on adopting the report and taking action.

The incident in question took place during a national political crisis following the arrest of Yorgen Fenech in connection with the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder.

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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