GSD attempts to ‘score political points’ on Marrache parole, claims Govt
The Gibraltar Government has labelled the Opposition’s attempts to politicise judicial proceedings in Isaac Marrache’s parole case as “entirely inappropriate”.
A government statement yesterday accused the GSD of distorting facts in an attempt to “score political points”.
The statements follow the release of convicted fraudster Isaac Marrache on parole after serving two and a half years of his seven year sentence.
Under Gibraltar law prisoners are eligible for parole after serving one third of their jail term.
The government highlighted the judicial systems independence from police as an “absolute guarantee of the rule of law”.
Parole matters in Gibraltar are regulated by the Prisons Act and the government said yesterday that Opposition Leader Daniel Feetham had introduced the act in his former role as Minister for Justice.
“It is therefore Mr Feetham's law that provides that a prisoner is eligible for parole after serving one third of a sentence,” the government said in its statement.
“It is accordingly the height of political hypocrisy for the architect of the law in question to lament a result that is a direct and natural consequence of his own actions and decisions whilst Justice Minister,” it added.
According to the Government Minister for Justice, Neil Costa, has proposed the need to reform Gibraltar’s sentencing laws.
“It is preposterous for Mr Feetham to insinuate that correct legal procedures have not been followed in this case,” Mr Costa said.
“The procedures I followed were those contained in his law and if there is ambiguity arising from that law, it can only be because the law was poorly drafted by him. There is no other possible explanation. The outstanding issue is a technical, procedural one relating to a difference of opinion between the Government and its legal team and the Courts.”
“I am not currently at liberty to make any further comments, as this technical point is being appealed, but I look forward to a timely conclusion and I will make a full statement at the end of the proceedings. Further, Mr. Feetham knows that I make every effort to provide the fullest possible answers in Parliament and he has even thanked me for this in the past. The fact of the matter is that Isaac Marrache has been released on parole because of a law that Mr. Feetham himself enacted and implemented. His hypocrisy in this case is astounding and unbecoming of a practising lawyer and Queen’s Counsel. I have made no secret of my views that Mr Feetham’s legislation should be reviewed to consider whether prisoners should serve more of their sentences before being eligible for parole and I am meeting with the Chief Justice on this issue to consider how best to proceed in this important and serious endeavour,” he said.
“Mr Feetham had his chance and failed. He should now allow others to correct his mistakes,” he added.