Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers are demanding the recusal of the judge set to preside over the trial against the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect.
According to Malta Today, Fenech’s lawyers are arguing that the judge, Madame Justice Edwina Grima, could potentially serve as an appellate judge in a potential appeal from their client.
Grima is one of two judges nominated to be on the Court of Criminal Appeal, alongside the Chief Justice.
“It is unthinkable that a judge without experience in the Criminal Court can oversee the operation of the most senior judge nominated by (the President) in the Court of Criminal Appeal and this means that the applicant can never have a fair hearing before the Court of Criminal Appeal in the near-certain eventuality that this case ends up before that court,” the lawyers said.
Grima was assigned the case after Judge Aaron Bugeja has abstained from presiding over the trial, arguing that he was not in a position to do so given that he had led the Egrant inquiry.
In their request for recusal, the lawyers are also arguing that the Attorney General was involved in the decision to choose Grima.
“This means that… the choice of Madame Justice Edwina Grima is a joint one between the Attorney General and the parte civile and this goes against every sense of fair hearing and natural justice,” the lawyers said.
“In these circumstances, the applicant has no serenity in the choice of Madame Justice Edwina Grima, once this took place with the direct and indirect intervention of the Attorney General who is asking that the applicant be sent to prison for life.”
Yorgen Fenech will formally face a criminal court on charges of criminal conspiracy as well as conspiracy to murder.
Prosecutors have requested a life sentence for Fenech’s role in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, as well as 20 to 30 years for criminal conspiracy. He denies the charges.
Legal sources who spoke to Lovin Malta said it would likely be a year or more before the trial starts.
What do you think of the request?