Former chief justice De Gaetano to lead inquiry into journalist bribery attempt

FILE PHOTO: Maltese businessman Yorgen Fenech, who was arrested in connection with an investigation into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, arrives at the Courts of Justice in Valletta, Malta, November 29, 2019. REUTERS/Yara Nardi/File Photo

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Chief Justice Emeritus Vincent de Gaetano who is a former judge at the European Court of Human Rights, will chair the committee investigating lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran and Charles Mercieca over the alleged attempt to bribe a journalist.

Earlier this week, Yorgen Fenech’s defence team confirmed that they tried to pass on money to Times of Malta Journalist, Ivan Martin while also stating that the issue raised by the media house was all intended to further blacken the character of their client.

Yorgen Fenech is accused of being involved in Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination.

The alleged attempt was immediately referred to the Committee for Advocates and Legal Procurators.  The Committee for Advocates and Legal Procurators is a sub-committee of the Commission for the Administration of Justice.

The committee is composed of;

  • a member appointed by the commission,
  • a member appointed by the attorney general
  • three members appointed by the Chamber of Advocates

The person who chairs the committee is elected by the members

The Times said that Ivan Martin was handed over a number of folded €500 notes. Martin is unsure of how much money was offered since he didn’t count it. The Times report, on Tuesday, outlined that Martin rejected the money, telling the lawyers that he is only paid by the Times of Malta.

Yorgen Fenech’s defence team said that Gianluca Caruana Curran did not spontaneously offer to give Martin money without an offer of professional services as the defence is duty bound to pursue all, reasonable, investigative avenues and sources of information.

Fenech’s legal team accused Ivan Martin of exploiting his journalistic trade saying he sought to damage the integrity of the defence, in a way that risks undermining the fairness of their client’s trial.