A case filed by businessman Yorgen Fenech challenging the Cabinet’s decision to deny him a presidential pardon hit a snag on Wednesday when it was revealed that no judicial protest had been filed prior to the court case itself.

The law courts assistant registrar Alexia Aquilina testified before Mr Justice Francesco Depasquale that she found no records of any judicial protest or official letter filed prior to the filing of the actual court case.

This was one of the preliminary pleas raised by the State Attorney in defence of the Cabinet of ministers and the Police Commissioner who are being accused of breaching the law when they turned down his request for a pardon.

The case was filed against the Attorney General, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Cabinet members at the time: Evarist Bartolo, José Herrera, Michael Falzon, Edward Scicluna, Carmelo Abela, Justyne Caruana, Michael Farrugia, Owen Bonnici, Edward Zammit Lewis, Joe Mizzi and Ian Borg, as well as the Police Commissioner.

Mr Fenech, who stands charged with complicity in Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder, is calling on the court to declare as illegal a decision by the Cabinet to reject his presidential pardon request.

In December, the Cabinet re-jected Mr Fenech’s second pardon request after being briefed by the Attorney General and the Police Commissioner about the criminal investigation.

Former prime minister Joseph Muscat had previously turned down Fenech’s first request for a presidential pardon so he abstained on the second application and left it up to the Cabinet of ministers to decide.

Mr Justice Depasquale put off the case to March 3 for any evidence on preliminary pleas.

State Attorney Victoria Buttigieg and lawyer Abigail Caruana Vella appeared for the defendants while lawyers Marion Camilleri and Gianluca Caruana Curran ap-peared for Mr Fenech.

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