A few weeks ago, Malta Today has reported that the MSS appealed the Court ruling regarding the tapping of the Degiorgio Brothers’ phones. Their lawyer William Cuschieri had won the case in the first instance on the grounds that such tapping was carried out illegally.
The aim of this blog is not to argue the merits of the case yet there is a strange element in this MSS appeal that the media failed to pick up. The Malta Secret Service is a Government Agency therefore one would expect that the head of the Agency would have asked either the Attorney General’s office or that of the State Advocate’s Office to submit the appeal and defend the case.
Strangely enough, instead, the Malta Secret Service chose to outsource the appeal to a private firm. Is this an indication that the MSS has no faith in the State Advocates? This would be very serious as MSS gathers sensitive information not accessible to the general public. Could it be that MSS has sensitive information regarding the Prosecutors and State Advocates for it to have chosen a private firm? Or does the MSS have no faith in them?
However, the issue does not end here. Oddly enough, the MSS decided to farm out the appeal to a lawyer who is attached to Pierre Lofaro’s firm of advocates. There is no need to add that Pierre Lofaro is Madame Justice Abigail Lofaro’s husband. It is a big irony, that this time round, Matthew Caruana Galizia did not go on Facebook to criticize the MSS for asking a private firm to table the appeal. Recently, Matthew Caruana Galizia shouted scandal after the Speaker of the House, Dr. Anglu Farrugia, asked a private firm to reply to a letter that Matthew sent him demanding his resignation.
What is more perplexing here is that this is not being done by a private citizen but by a State Agency that has many advocates at its disposal from the AG’s and SA’s offices but decided not to use them. Furthermore, unlike other agencies, Government departments, or entities, the MSS does not have to justify or render account for money spent and how it is spent. In brief, the MSS has carte blanche and the legal firm in question can demand any quantum for its services.
At this point, it would be pertinent to ask the Venice Commission and/or the Council of Europe whether such a system is not opening the doors to potential corruption of the judiciary when money filters through firms that, directly or indirectly, can be linked to a judge.
Returning to this particular case, it should be noted that Madame Justice Lofaro sat on a Commission requested by the Council of Europe to teach us how to make the best use of the legal practices to avoid corruption. And look where it has got us!