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AG ends criminal case against three charged with conspiracy to defraud Bland Ltd

Photo by Johnny Bugeja

The Attorney General, Michael Llamas, QC, has ended a criminal case against three men accused of conspiracy to defraud Bland Ltd, citing “matters in the wider public interest” for his decision not to proceed to trial.

Mr Llamas entered a ‘nolle prosequi’ in respect of the case, a legal term to describe a decision to voluntarily end a criminal prosecution before trial.

Thomas John Cornelio, John Christopher Perez and Caine Derek Sanchez had been charged with conspiracy to defraud Bland Limited in connection with a contract for security-related work for the Gibraltar Government.

Mr Cornelio also faced charges of computer misuse-related offences, while Mr Sanchez, a civil servant, was accused of aiding and abetting unauthorised access to computer material.

The three men denied all charges.

In explaining his decision, Mr Llamas said he had been advised by the Director of Public Prosecutions that there was sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

That was one of two key tests that had to be met by the prosecution.

But the second test – that for a case to go to trial, it must be in the public interest – was not met, Mr Llamas said.

“This requires an assessment as to whether there are matters in the wider public interest which militate against the case proceeding to trial,” the Attorney General said in a written response to questions.

“This matter was referred to me by the DPP for my consideration.”

“After careful and lengthy consideration, I came to the firm view that, given the subject matter of the prosecution, there are matters in the wider public interest that required me to enter the nolle.”

Mr Llamas, however, said he was unable to go into the details of his decision.

“To publicly explain what those wider Gibraltar public interests are would undermine those very interests and therefore the reason for my decision, and so, regrettably, I cannot give a public explanation for my decision, as would be my wish,” he said.

“What I will say is that last Friday, after having entered the nolle, I held a meeting with the complainant in the case, Bland Ltd, whose complaint to the RGP had led to the investigation.”

“I explained to them, in strict confidence, the reasons for my decision, which they understood and accepted.”

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