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Marrache appeal raised in Parliament

The potential cost to the public purse of the Justice Minister pursuing an appeal in the latest round of the Marrache saga was the subject of heated debate in Parliament yesterday.
This comes as the Justice Minister, Neil Costa, was 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.
According to a judgement handed down by Mr Justice Jack, Mr Costa has indicated that he may instruct one of the UK’s most senior barrister’s Lord Pannick, QC, to act on his behalf in the appeal.
And yesterday, shadow Justice Minister Elliott Phillips asked if this was the case.
Mr Costa had stated that given that it is subject to legal proceedings by the Court of Appeal he would not be drawn any further on the subject.
The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, told the House that as Mr Costa is the appellant in the case the government does not consider it appropriate for him to answer questions on the subject.
“Who acts for the Minister will be obvious in court,” he added.
Undeterred, Mr Phillips asked the question again.
Mr Picardo replied that the government had already indicated what its answer is before reiterating that this was not a matter for “further parliamentary engagement”.
“I don’t know if it’s that he just wants to meet Lord Pannick and have a selfie with him, I don’t know why he is so obsessed with him,” he added, to the amusement of members on the government bench.
Mr Phillips told the House that what he was concerned about was the public purse and how much the Government intends to spend in relation to the matter.
“If he is concerned about the public purse then he might want to follow these proceedings very carefully to see who it is putting the government to expense,” Mr Picardo replied.
Amid bickering between members across the floor of the House, Mr Phillips said Lord Pannick was an “eminent but also very expensive QC in the field of public law and human rights” and asked if the government had considered instructing a local barrister such as Sir Peter Caruana or Keith Azzopardi, QC.

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