Magistrate Montebello does not like Yorgen Fenech’s defence team

I was not present in court yesterday (2 August), but from what I have read about yesterday’s session regarding the continuation of the compilation of Yorgen Fenech’s case, it is abundantly clear that the court is prejudiced against the entire defence team of Yorgen Fenech. This came out clearly from the manner Magistrate Rachel Montebello acted in court in relation to the defence lawyer, Charles Mercieca. I may add that it is obvious that there is no chemistry whatsoever between the defence lawyers and Magistrate Montebello. But the bottom line is that Magistrate Montebello does not like them. In a nutshell, the Maltese expression is: ma għandix grazzja magħhom. But this begs the question; should a magistrate show her feelings openly as to whom she likes or dislikes? Magistrates and judges should never expose their personal feelings in open court. Her attitude is extremely pernicious given the fact that she is overseeing this compilation of evidence because she was acceptable to the parte civile, meaning the Caruana Galizia’s lawyers. Other magistrates who were first chosen are professionals but were not to the liking of the family and had to recuse themselves.   

In fact, the Times reported  – and I quote:

What transpires from yesterday’s sitting is that the prosecution is playing for time and is intent on procrastinating as much as possible; wasting the time of the courts at the expense of the taxpayer. In fact, it also did not seize the opportunity of making full use of the hours allocated to this session, and what was said during the hearing was totally inconsequential to Yorgen Fenech’s case. At no time was Yorgen Fenech even mentioned.

The three witnesses did not even concern Yorgen Fenech’s case in so far as one was the owner who rented his garages to the Maksar brothers, and the prosecution concentrated on establishing the rental costs of the garages. The other was someone who was sent by Melvin Theuma to pay the Degiorgio brothers and does not appear to know much. The third witness was a relative of Melvin Theuma. The court today put a ban on naming this person when it is known from previous testimony that Theuma had already mentioned in court that this individual is his step-daughter. She refused to answer any questions not to incriminate herself since she has other cases before the courts.

What is grave here, is that the prosecution denied the defence the right to ask questions to Melvin Theuma’s stepdaughter on the grounds that she could incriminate herself! So what was the point of calling her in the first instance? Normally, such objections are made by a defence team, not by the prosecution and the police. Since when do the police and the prosecution assume, before the court, the defence of suspects or who have another ongoing case before the courts on a totally different subject matter? Their job is to arrest and arraign. Far be it, that we now set the precedent that the prosecution and police, while in office, can act as defence while actually employed as prosecutors!

What one should be asking at this stage is why did the prosecution ask for a postponement. Who is responsible for not only wasting precious court time but also responsible for making the police and prosecution present witnesses who are not actually connected to the Yorgen Fenech case? These witnesses may be relevant in the case against the Maksar brothers and/or the Degiorgios but definitely, nothing was said today that could strengthen the prosecution’s case against Yorgen Fenech in any way. So why call them?  

This confirms what I have been stating all along. The police and prosecution have a vested interest to drag out proceedings, under any pretext, in order to keep Yorgen Fenech behind bars and, in the process, make sure that he is not allowed to talk.

By adopting these methods, the police and prosecution are not only being shortsighted but do not gain any mileage whatsoever. Both prosecution and the police should remember that they too are not above the law and can be held to account for their actions.    

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *