Judge Giovanni Grixti’s decision yesterday is truly ground breaking. For altogether the wrong reasons.
Consider how he concludes that the Panama Papers and the documents revealed out of Mossack Fonseca’s servers are a “hack” and cannot therefore be considered as grounds for an inquiry.
Judges and prosecutors from all over the world, by Judge Giovanni Grixti’s unprecedented standard, will now have to throw away mountains of convictions they have secured or are still in the process of securing after investigations that started from the findings in the Panama Papers.
Again this is not technical. What Judge Grixti is suggesting here is that if a journalist intercepts an email of his that contains selfies of himself committing a crime (fit in here wherever your imagination takes you: cannibalism?) and that intercepted email is published, no authority should move to investigate the crime.
Bizarre does not begin to describe this perversion. If Judge Grixti is correct than all criminals have to do as of now is ensure that all the evidence of their crime is easily accessible on their computer so that somehow it finds its way to some journalist who could publish it. That, as long as this wise man of the law has it his way, is effectively blanket immunity from prosecution. From investigation even.
Disgusting racial prejudice which has no grasp of reality will dismiss the fact that the Prime Minister of Pakistan was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison in his country on the back of evidence discovered by the Panama Papers. Law ruled there.
But perhaps Giovanni Grixti can read the grand jury indictment unsealed a month ago in Manhattan naming four men connected to Mossack Fonseca whose alleged crimes were discovered by the Panama leaks. Of course there were many steps between the publication of the documents and this indictment: investigation, grand jury hearings and a verdict and we’re now at the stage where we know of the charges. Next there will be a trial and after that a conviction if the evidence convinces a court.
But Giovanni Grixti disallowed that process even to start. He has ruled the evidence inadmissable before he allowed anyone to look at it. Despair.
Of course you also recall how German police raided Deutsche Bank in November to collect more evidence in their investigation that started on the back of the information released in the Panama Papers.
Because that’s what should happen. The face value evidence starts an investigation and gives the authorities enough probable cause to cease more evidence which can then be used to secure a conviction. Giovanni Grixti yesterday told Simon Busuttil he was refusing his request for an inquiry to start because Simon Busuttil did not have the evidence that could only be secured in the sort of raids the German police did on Deutsche Bank last November.
But unlike the police Simon Busuttil has no such powers. None of us has and what Giovanni Grixti has just done is allowed the evidence to slip away because – try to get this – it was not given to him.
Just how does Judge Giovanni Grixti think the police, if they were doing their job, come to find out about money laundering?