Yorgen Fenech has failed in his bid to challenge the Cabinet’s decision denying him a presidential pardon, with the case faltering on a technical formality.
In a judgment delivered on Wednesday, the First Hall of the Civil Court, presided over by Mr 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’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.
That fact was promptly pointed out by the respondents’ lawyers, with Fenech’s lawyers rebutting that the prerequisite was waived in those cases which called for an urgent hearing, as was the case at hand.
Yet, the plea was upheld by the court, thereby declaring that the action was null.
During one of the sittings, an assistant registrar at the law courts had testified that no records of any judicial protest or an official letter filed prior to the filing of the actual court case, had been found.
Fenech, currently charged as an accomplice in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, had sought to annul the Cabinet’s decision denying him a pardon in exchange for facts about Keith Schembri, former Chief of Staff at OPM.
In his application, Fenech had claimed that Schembri had attempted in various ways, even by resorting to third parties and promises, to do all he could to stop Fenech from divulging information about him.
Fenech had also claimed that his rights had been breached and that the integrity of the investigations had been seriously prejudiced on account of the fact that his pardon request was to be decided upon by the PM who had “selected, appointed and defended for many years,” his Chief of Staff.
The judgment is likely to be appealed.