Updated: Panama Papers; Busuttil wins case on recusal of Judge Antonio Mizzi

A decision handed down in the First Hall of the Civil Courts by Mr Justice Joseph Zammit Mackeon, directed that Mr Justice Antonio Mizzi should recuse himself from hearing the cases related to the Panama Papers and senior Government and Labour Party members, because of conflict of interest. The judgement said that in not doing so at the right time, Mr Justice Mizzi may have caused an infringement of the fundamental human right to a fair hearing.

Mr Justice Mizzi is married to Labour MEP Marlene Mizzi.

Decisions Annulled

In his decision, Mr Justice Joseph Zammit Mackeon annulled any decisions taken by Mr Justice Mizzi in these cases and ordered that the cases instituted by, among others, Prime MInister Muscat, his Chief of staff Keith Schembri and Minister Konrad Mizzi, to be re-assigned and decided expeditiously.

Judge Mizzi had to hear appeals against the decision to open an inquiry on whether anti-money laundering laws were violated when offshore accounts were opened.

When Dr. Simon Busuttil challenge this option on the grounds that he is the husband of a Labour Member of Parliament, Mizzi did not want to surrender. However, Dr. Busuttil lodged a separate constitutional proceedings alleging violation of his right to a fair trial. He asked that the appeals to be assigned to different members of the Judiciary.

His requests were received today. After hearing arguments from both sides, Judge Joseph Zammit Mackeon decided it is clear that Judge Mizzi should not preside over this case.

Lawyer Jason Azzopardi assisted Dr Simon Busuttil in this case.

The Nationalist Party reacts

The Nationalist Party have just issued a press release to condemn PM Joseph Muscat’s lack of decision making to ensure that Malta’s reputation is protected.

The Party advocates for honesty and justice so as to uphold Malta’s reputation.