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NEWS| Wednesday, 01 August 2007

Brincat muddles up on pardon letter

Matthew Vella

Labour MP Joe Brincat may have not taken kindly to his outing as a lawyer who filed a petition to the President for the pardon of the late minister Lorry Sant, after declining to comment over whether he had ever filed any petitions for his clients.
Writing in his regular column in The Sunday Times, Brincat implied MaltaToday had committed a criminal act in the publication of a facsimile of his letter, dated 8 May 1992, which he wrote to President Censu Tabone.
The letter had in fact been already published by the Department of Information itself, back in 1992, along with its press statement on the President’s granting of a presidential pardon to Lorry Sant – hardly secret or confidential as Brincat claimed last Sunday.
In a week where questions have been raised over the ethics surrounding the requests for presidential pardons over criminal sentences, Brincat has declined to reveal whether he has ever filed any petition for a presidential pardon, claiming: “I do not give answers to journalists or to anyone else” on his professional work.
But Brincat also confused matters in his column last Sunday, erroneously claiming that MaltaToday had stated his petition concerned “corruption charges” against Lorry Sant.
In fact last Wednesday’s report correctly stated that Brincat wrote to the President of Malta back on 8 May, 1992, to pardon Sant in the procedures brought against him in the infamous law courts incidents during the afternoon of 19 June, 1987. The incident involved the fiery ex-minister when captaining a party of Labour thugs who had ransacked the Courts of Law, just a month after the Nationalist Party was elected to government in 1987 in a tense electoral atmosphere.
In his letter Brincat wrote: “given that the incidents were committed by a mob (gemgha) in the political heat of the moment, and where today one must say a climate of serenity prevails, it is for that reason why, in the public interest, such procedures should not be continued…”.
Five days later on the 13 May, 1992, the Department of Information announced that the Cabinet led by Eddie Fenech Adami had advised Censu Tabone to accede to Joe Brincat’s request and pardon Lorry Sant.

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