The Civil Court in its constitutional jurisdiction is to consider an application by former John Dalli canvasser Silvio Zammit claiming that his rights were breached in the compilation of evidence in a case where is is accused of requesting €60 million from a Swedish company to influence changes to an EU tobacco directive while Mr Dalli was EU health commissioner.

Magistrate Anthony Vella this morning accepted a request by Mr Zammit to refer to a Constitutional court the issue of whether or not the prosecution's insistence on summoning an uncooperative foreign witness to testify had breached hsi rights.

Mr Zammit filed the application last month, complaining that his case has been unnecessarily drawn out by the prosecution's refusal to declare its evidence closed.

The compilation of evidence against Mr Zammit started four years ago.

Mr Zammit said in his application that prosecuting officer Jonathan Ferris had declared that the only remaining witness Inge Delfosse was refusing to travel to Malta and testify as she risked incriminating herself.

Ms Delfosse was an employee with snus producer Swedish Match. She was the person who allegedly spoke to Mr Zammit about the possibility of a meeting with former EU commissioner Dalli in the hope of securing changes to a proposed tobacco directive. 

Mr Zammit said that because of her refusal to travel to Malta, the Attorney General could not declare his evidence closed, nor could the case proceed to trial.

Mr Zammit’s lawyers Edward Gatt and Kris Busietta argued that this was a breach of his right to a fair hearing.

The Attorney General realistically had no other option but to declare the evidence closed, the lawyers argued. 

They said the fact that the Attorney General had refused an invitation to do so by the Court of Magistrates was a challenge to the authority of that court. 

In a decree following that application, Magistrate Vella referred the question of the breach of human rights to the First Hall of the Civil Court in its Constitutional jurisdiction.

 

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