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Costa gets green light for ‘perfectly arguable’ Marrache appeal

Justice Minister Neil Costa has been granted permission to appeal a Supreme Court ruling questioning his power to withdraw court proceedings relating to the release on parole of convicted fraudster Isaac Marrache.
In granting the appeal, Puisne Judge Adrian Jack said that while he did not believe the minister had the authority to withdraw proceedings filed in court, the contrary view was “perfectly arguable”.
The appeal comes after Mr Costa last month filed an application asking the court to review the Parole Board’s decision to release Marrache a third of the way into a seven-year prison sentence.
When Mr Costa sought to discontinue that application after receiving fresh information about Marrache’s plans, Puisne Judge Adrian Jack ruled that the minister, having filed the case in court, could not then withdraw it.
The judge eventually upheld the parole decision but his ruling meant that, in the interim, Marrache had effectively been “unlawfully at large”.
Mr Costa, dissatisfied with the court’s interpretation of his powers in a parole case, sought leave to appeal Mr Justice Jack’s decision. Yesterday, that permission was granted, though with conditions.
At the root of the appeal is the question of whether the Justice Minister can withdraw an application relating to a parole decision once it has been referred to court.
“I have decided that he cannot, but the contrary is perfectly arguable,” Mr Justice Jack said in judgement handed down yesterday.
“In these circumstances it would generally be right to grant permission to appeal.”

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