Defendants say case against them ‘could not stand up in court’
The three men accused of conspiracy to defraud Bland last night said the case against them had been halted not because of public interest issues, but because the prosecution’s evidence “could not stand up in court”.
In a statement issued to the media, they said the “unwarranted prosecution” had been brought to an end and all charges against them would be dismissed.
But they expressed anger that the Attorney General, Michael llamas, QC, had implied in his statement that the case against them could have succeeded, in effect seeking to “have his cake and eat it”.
“His statement flies in the face of the presumption of innocence and thereby constitutes a breach of our human rights,” they said in the statement.
“It is neither fair, nor does it reflect the reality of this unjust and poorly considered prosecution.”
The Supreme Court had been due to hear an application brought by the three men to have the case dismissed.
They said the dismissal application followed criticism of the prosecution by the Chief Justice, who articulated fundamental problems with the viability of the Crown’s case and ordered them to particularise the evidence upon which they intended to rely.
According to the statement, that order was never complied with by the prosecution and neither was an Opening Note served even after many months of proceedings.
“Instead of complying with the Court’s directions and fighting its corner in Court, the prosecution has thrown in its hand in hiding behind a nolle prosequi,” the statement said.
“The truth of the matter is, as pointed out by the Chief Justice in Court, that even the prosecution’s own expert evidence, which was pivotal for the success of the prosecution, did not support their case.”
“The AG did not therefore issue a nolle prosequi on public interest grounds but because the prosecution evidence could not stand up in Court.”
“Furthermore, contrary to the press releases issued by the RGP as reported on in the media, HMGoG were never a complainant in this case.”
“Our former employer Bland, was the only complainant purely for its own commercial interests.”
The three men added: “We are no conspirators.”
“Our aim in setting up 36 North Ltd was to provide a better service to the Government and people of Gibraltar than we could provide whilst working for Bland.”
“We acted with the full support of the Government of Gibraltar and in the interests of Gibraltar.”
“We gave a full and frank account to the police, provided detailed defence statements to the Crown and always maintained our complete innocence of all charges.”
“We now stand vindicated by the dismissal of all charges brought and are taking advice on commencing proceedings against the RGP and the complainant.”