Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar notes the statement by the Opposition parties on the decision taken by the Attorney General to enter a Nolle Prosequi in respect of various defendants in a case of conspiracy to defraud.
This decision is purely a matter for him.
All aspects of the administration of justice in Gibraltar are entirely independent of Ministers, as they should be.
There was no benefit to be had by any Minister from this decision taken by the Attorney General which he has taken entirely independently and without consultation with the Government, as he should.
Indeed, it should be known that the Chief Minister was himself only informed by the Attorney General of his decision AFTER he entered the Nolle. The Attorney General briefed the Government and the Opposition as to his decision and the reasons for it.
Given this reality, it is deeply regrettable that the reaction of the Leader of the Opposition has once again been to resort to the politics of making baseless allegations based on rumour that amount to no more than mud-slinging and misinformation.
This kind of politics does him and Gibraltar no credit and is sadly all that the GSD Opposition have left to offer.
It is no surprise, either, that Ms Hassan Nahon has followed Mr Azopardi’s lead and issued a characteristically hyperbolic statement about the alleged demise of our demonstrably vibrant democracy and, even more remarkably, attacking the moral standing of the Attorney General. None of that arises from the independent decision made by the AG in this case and on which she was separately privately briefed.
The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP said;
“There are no facts or circumstances arising in any aspect of the case in question which raises any issue which I would consider to be uncomfortable for the Government.
“In any case, it goes without saying that nobody is above the law in Gibraltar, especially Ministers who have an obligation to set an example in the way that they observe it and to work with and assist enforcement in respect of any alleged breaches.
“Additionally, it should be noted by Mr Azopardi, Ms Hassan Nahon and more widely, that, at the request of the Royal Gibraltar Police, I gave a Witness Statement in this case to the prosecuting authorities and confirmed that I would be available to the Court to give evidence if required.
“That alone should demonstrate that Mr Azopardi’s and Ms Hassan Nahon’s baseless assumptions are entirely wrong, unfair and simply designed to try to tarnish my reputation and integrity for their own political ends.
“I also note that Mr Azopardi pretends to link this case and the decision of former Commissioner McGrail to retire.
“I have no doubt that this speculation will be brought to a close when the Public Inquiry into Mr McGrail’s decision to retire makes its findings public.
“Finally arrangements are being made so that I will be able to make a statement convening that Inquiry next week.”