“A minister cannot be obliged to testify about cabinet matters” – legal expert

Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

A legal expert consulted by Newsbook.com.mt said that a Cabinet Minister cannot be obliged to testify in court on matters pertaining to cabinet. He added that technically, the law says that all cabinet documents are privileged and they cannot be brought up as evidence in court. It goes without saying, added the expert, that this veto is extended to the spoken word since this is then translated into the miutes of cabinet.

Newsbook.com.mt sought this advice following media reports that Yorgen Fenech had filed a court case against the ministers and members of cabinet for declining to recommed his request for turning state’s evidence. In this case it was reported, all members of the cabinet would be sup poenaed to testify on the discussions whch took place in the marathon cabinet meeting which had started on the 28th November and ended in the wee hours of the 29th November.

A minister can talk

The legal expert told Newsbook.com.mt that a minister can choose to testify. “Technically, this would mean s/he is breaking the law, even though I think that no one will prosecute” said the expert.

So it seems that the only credible soure of information which can be used to know what happened in that fateful cabinet meeting would be the media reports including those by Newsbook.com.mt.

What had been reported in Newsbook.com.mt?

Informed sources had told Newsbook.com.mt that the majority of the ministers had advised the Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to resign. The meeting had been characterised by moments of such extreme tension that Parliamentary Secretary Deo Debattista was reported to have burst into tears. Other media reported that the members discussed a letter in which a plan devised by former Chief of Staff at OPM Keith Schembri to incriminate Minister Chris Cardona of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Keith Schembri always denied this allegation.