So Yanica Barbara got her lawyer to point out she was merely conditionally discharged when she was found guilty of stealing a credit card and using it for some shopping. Although the crime she was found guilty of committing carries a prison sentence, the court decided not to impose that penalty and let her off relatively lightly.

The court at the time was however mindful of the longer term consequences of Yanica Barbara’s actions knowing as it did that she was a law student and would be facing the test of eligibility as a person of sufficiently good moral standing to be a lawyer.

Dr John Bonello will no doubt argue his client’s case in front of whatever court will ultimately have to decide whether she is eligible for a warrant. His arguments to me change nothing either way. Ultimately she committed an offense that is punishable by imprisonment and the fact she was not imprisoned by the wisdom of the court does not remove this reflection on her character.

I will not dispute law with Dr John Bonello or with his clients. They are law graduates and one of them is licensed to practice law, qualifications I do not possess. My understanding is that an advocate is required to be “of good conduct and good morals” and my understanding is that is not meant to be a joke.

“A conviction by any competent tribunal for any crime liable to imprisonment for a term exceeding one year … shall be a cause of perpetual disability to practice the profession of advocate”.

Dr John Bonello teaches me today not to confuse a “conviction” with a “conditional discharge” for which lesson I thank him. Perhaps he should be careful not to confuse “conditional discharge” with “acquittal”.

The granting of a warrant is a process set up by law. It is a public act and as such subject to public scrutiny.

Yanica Barbara and her boyfriend Thomas Sant surely cannot be surprised the process of granting them a warrant to practice as advocates is a matter of controversy. The controversy is not a consequence of the reporting in the press of this story: the Times of Malta, The Shift News and this website have covered various aspects of the matter. The controversy comes out of their actions all those years ago, and what they are doing now to have that memory wiped.

It is refreshing to see that Yanica Barbara is not too worried about the present goings on. This morning on Facebook she was rather more concerned her father lost his wallet in a supermarket.

She’d better hope a 19 year old girl with shopping on her mind does not find it before he does.