Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers have been cleared of bribery charges related to a case involving a journalist from the Times of Malta over a technicality.
According to the judgement, Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras said that the Attorney General did not specify which type of bribery the two lawyers were charged with.
Gianluca Caruana Curran and Charles Mercieca were charged after revelations that the former had offered journalist Ivan Martin €500 notes following a meeting.
Caruana Curran admitted to offering the money but said he did so because he thought it was a normal proactive when dealing with journalists.
Martin told the court that he first contacted Mercieca in May 2020 when he heard that the young lawyer was leaving the Attorney General’s office to join Yorgen Fenech’s defence team. He said they exchanged some messages over court applications submitted by Fenech.
In summer, the pair met twice, with Mercieca offering him leads for potential stories. Martin said that there was one piece of information which interested him, and he told Mercieca he would confirm the detail before publishing.
He had sent an early draft of that story but held off from publishing because he was uncertain over particular details.
Mercieca, Caruana Curran, and Martin then met on 2nd November 2020. The lawyers were keen on building a PR campaign to diminish the credibility of state witness Melvin Theuma
During that meeting, Martin was allegedly offered between two and five €500 notes in return for favourable coverage towards his client, which he rejected and returned.
Both were charged with active bribery, but the AG pointed to another article concerning passive bribery. Since it did not refer to active bribery, the pair were acquitted.
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