Watch: A request for pardon will be seen through due process – Abela

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

If murder suspect Yorgen Fenech had to submit a fresh request for presidential pardon this would be considered, Prime Minister Robert Abela told journalists waiting outside Castille on Wednesday.

Fenech who owns 17 Black and was a director at Electrogas, stands accused of being an accomplice in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Fenech had already requested presidential pardon in exchange of information, however, this was turned down.

Fielding questions from the media, Abela announced that former Economy Minister Chris Cardona who also served as Partit Laburista’s deputy leader for party affairs had handed in his resignation. On Tuesday, Abela had announced that he had requested Cardona to step down in wake of the fresh details which emerged in court relating to the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Abela maintained that each request for presidential pardon is considered separately. He insisted that there was a procedure which needs to be followed when one requests pardon and by which such requests are considered. He added that as far as he was aware, Fenech’s legal team had not made any fresh requests for pardon.

Fenech had requested pardon on 23 November 2019 when Joseph Muscat was still Prime Minister. The then Prime Minister had announced that the request had been turned down. Muscat had left the matter to the Cabinet claiming that he did not participate in the meeting.

The Advocate General Peter Grech and Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar had addressed the Cabinet prior to the decision on Fenech’s request for pardon. In the case of the go in between Melvin Theuma, Muscat had decided alone on granting Theuma presidential pardon, saying that he would shoulder responsibility for his decision.

Fenech’s legal team had told President George Vella that since the Prime Minister and some Cabinet members had a clear conflict of interest, then they should not be involved in processing Fenech’s request. They had urged the President to take the decision himself, remarking that their client was ready to reveal all about disgraced Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, disgraced Minister Konrad Mizzi, Cardona and other individuals who were close to disgraced Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

Although the prerogative of mercy is referred to as “Presidential Pardon”, it is ultimately the Prime Minister who would advice the President on what to do.

Video: Miguela Xuereb