Last month, the Times of Malta gave us the sensational news that two of Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers were found not guilty on the grounds of a technical error committed by the Office of the Advocate General of the Republic. This sentence was handed down on 27th June 2022. The report led media paladins and those of Repubblika to come out shouting to crucify Victoria Buttigieg. In this particular case, according to the Times of Malta, lawyers Gianluca Caruana Curran and Charles Mercieca were found not guilty of bribery. However, when one reads the proceedings of the case one finds that bribery was never the issue because it is abundantly obvious that this was a working meeting between Ivan Martin and these lawyers.
Always according to testimony given, Ivan Martin never informed his superiors about this meeting as this meeting was connected with his private work. The Times of Malta failed to inform its readers of these details. Hence, it is not true that a technical error was the reason for the case being dismissed as first reported, and then the same article was changed and updated at 2 p.m. on the same day that it first appeared.
Thus, if anybody has committed a technical error, this is the Times of Malta that had to amend and correct its error. Besides even in the testimony given in Court, one of the directors of the ToM had to revise what he had said about the meeting that had taken place between Ivan Martin and Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers on 2nd November 2021 and the subsequent reporting on 3rd November 2021. Even here, he was neither correct nor factual when testifying in court.
Moreover, one has to bear in mind that when the case against these two lawyers was being heard, Ivan Martin appeared in court accompanied by a criminal lawyer. While Martin has every right to be accompanied by a lawyer, it is incongruous that this journalist – who maintains that he is simultaneously a victim and a hero – chooses a criminal lawyer. One usually retains a criminal lawyer when there is the possibility that one could incriminate oneself.
Am I correct when stating that, in his testimony in Court, Ivan Martin never mentioned bribery? If the journalist under oath did not declare that he had been bribed, how could the Magistrate have found these two lawyers guilty on a charge of bribery? It was only after the sentence was handed down that hell broke out and the usual group of activists belonging to Repubblika et al began talking and shouting out bribery!
What transpired in Court, and from Ivan Martin’s testimony, is that this was a pre-established meeting. This means that the journalist agreed to meet up with the two lawyers in their chambers. The meeting did not take place for him to be given money but to exchange and share information concerning a telephone call that had taken place between the then Commissioner of Police, Lawrence Cutajar, and the well-known Edwin Brincat nick-named ‘il-Ġojja’,
Furthermore, Ivan Martin stated that lawyers Caruana Curran and Mercieca never requested money nor did they expect any money from him, nor did he expect to receive money from them for any exchange of information. Ivan Martin further stated that when he left the meeting, he began suspecting that he could have been recorded and this brought on a great fear.
What Ivan Martin stated was corroborated by the testimonies of both Dr. Caruana Curran and Dr. Mercieca. They testified that Ivan Martin was continuously mentioning the contacts he had as well as the danger he ran as a result of his investigative work.
In this context, Caruana Curran had no problem confirming that the money he offered Martin was by way of payment for the information that Martin was prepared to pass on and for the work he was willing to carry out on their behalf.
It is in this context that this money was offered because Ivan Martin was here working in his private and personal capacity. Since this was his private work, Martin had not informed his superiors about this meeting. The employment contract he had (and I believe he still has with ToM) does not exclude that he carries out private work. Thus, the money was given for private services rendered by this journalist. Hence where lies the offence or technical error?
In truth, while journalists at the Times of Malta insulted me by saying that I was paid by Yorgen Fenech, one of its journalists met up privately with Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers without informing his superiors on matters that clearly indicate private work.
Confronted with all this evidence, I fail to understand how the magistrate could ever have found the two lawyers guilty of bribery when this was a business meeting. The journalist was not attending in his capacity as a Times of Malta employee but in his private capacity as he declared. There is huge difference between bribery and fees for services rendered. Yet neither Repubblika nor its cronies have spoken out. Not even the Times of Malta.
Therefore, all this narrative was planned and used by the Times of Malta in order to attack Victoria Buttigieg. You may rest assured that it will do all in its power, – just as it did in the case of Alex Dalli – helped by the Church media, to carry on attacking her until she is removed.