PRESS RELEASE BY THE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL Allegations and legal arguments following the Egrant inquiry decision

Reference is made to reports on a number of media outlets quoting criminal lawyer Dr Joe Giglio and giving the impression that freezing orders (used to freeze assets of a person charged with a criminal offence) are only used selectively against persons charged with money laundering.

Dr Giglio does not refer to any specific prosecutions but only refers to persons ‘whose names I need not mention’ as the beneficiaries. The allegation is serious enough to merit some clarity in the place of vagueness as to which prosecutions he is referring to since it is only when clear accusations are made that the cases can be discussed.

As to the learned lawyer’s remark about the Egrant investigation case to the effect that it is the first time that the Constitutional Court has found the Attorney General personally responsible for breaching human rights, it must be pointed out that ‘human rights’ have evolved extensively over the decades and that the fact that a case about access to a judicial document of a criminal nature has become a ‘human rights’ case is evidence of this. There was never such a precedent to the Egrant inquiry decision and the courts of first and of second instance in fact disagreed on the outcome whilst agreeing that they could not order the publication of the investigation report. Of course, the Court has decided and its decision and authority is fully respected and was adhered to within a few hours.

Dr Giglio’s argument that nobody should need to go to court to enjoy his or her rights is valid if the rights are clear-cut, but disputes about the niceties of the law are always bound to arise in less straightforward cases both between private citizens and between citizens and the institutions of the State. It is therefore no shame for a legal system that it still needs lawyers to argue cases and courts to decide disputes. Every legal system has them.

Source: Government of Malta