Govt’s Marrache reaction ‘bizarre and unseemly’, says GSD
The GSD has blasted the Gibraltar Government for “gloating” about the decision of the Court of Appeal in the Marrache parole case.
“It has nothing to gloat about and much to regret,” the Opposition said in a statement yesterday evening.
The GSD added that it was “bizarre and unseemly in equal measure” to see the Government issuing a communique “gloating about the decision”.
The GSD claimed that the Marrache saga has been “nothing short of shameful for the Government” as it pointed to a “litany of decisions” which had benefited defendants accused of one of the largest frauds in the history of the jurisdiction.
The Opposition said the current administration changed the legal aid rules in order to allow those tried with serious and complex fraud to obtain better representation by allowing their lawyers to charge more.
“These changes have only ever benefited the Marrache defendants,” the GSD said.
“Indeed when the then Minister for Justice was asked in Parliament whether he accepted that there could be serious and complex non-fraud cases his answer was ‘yes’.”
According to the GSD there could have been other defendants facing serious and complex non fraud trials who did not get the benefit of the same legal aid rules as the Marrache defendants.
“Yet further, when the trial of the Marrache defendants ended, the Government repealed the same legislative changes to the legal aid rules it had introduced for serious and complex fraud trials,” it added.
“No one else could therefore benefit from them,” the GSD said, adding that by then the taxpayer had incurred millions of pounds in legal aid bills.
“To boot the tax payer has now had to foot the bill of paying for Lord Pannick QC, one of the most expensive lawyers in the UK, to argue about a point that had become academic in that Isaac Marrache had already been released.”
The Opposition added that the minister would have “done well to keep quiet” adding that “his crowing about the Court of Appeal decision is a slap in the face for a community that has had to bear the injustice of the way these defendants have been treated compared to others.”