Judge’s decision could land Marrache back in jail
Convicted fraudster Isaac Marrache could be sent back to jail after a Supreme Court judge ruled yesterday that he was unlawfully released on parole earlier this month.
Puisne Judge Adrian Jack said Justice Minister Neil Costa had “no power” to end court proceedings he had initiated challenging the Parole Board’s decision to release Marrache.
Mr Costa had been uncomfortable with the board’s decision and asked the court to look into it, only to later withdraw the application on receiving new documentation about the case.
But the judge ruled that the minister, having filed the case in court, could not then discontinue it. His decision effectively means that Marrache is “unlawfully at large”.
In his judgement, Mr Justice Jack said that allowing the minister to discontinue proceedings could potentially open the door to future interference in decisions that should rightly be the preserve of the Supreme Court or the Parole Board.
The law requires the minister to file any challenge to a decision of the Parole Board within a period of seven days, a timeframe Mr Justice Jack said was designed by the legislature to reduce the risk of “political influence or lobbying”.
“It will be apparent that, if a minister can withdraw a referral to the court, every prisoner will attempt to reargue the matter with the minister,” the judge said.
“There is a substantial risk that the process will become politicised.”
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