It was odd of Judge Giovanni Grixti to decide to hear arguments on Yorgen Fenech’s request for bail this morning. He shouldn’t have had to.

After all he’s guided very clearly by the law. The law says bail should not be granted if at the time the request is made or within a week after that, the indictment has been filed. The indictment against Yorgen Fenech was filed by the Attorney General this morning. The request for bail was filed two days ago, well within the one-week timeframe set in the law. The Judge knew this, so that should have been that.

Instead, Judge Giovanni Grixti heard arguments and said he would give his decision in camera. If you’ve been waiting for a decision since then, you probably have to wait out the night. Judge Grixti went home before lunch today, so it seems he decided to chew on this overnight.

He shouldn’t need to. And yet here we are.

Judge Giovanni Grixti is, just in case the name is only vaguely familiar, the guy who blocked Simon Busuttil’s request for an inquiry into the Panama Papers. His decision was eventually ignored by Magistrates receiving fresh and identical requests but at the time the learned judge had served the purpose of throwing himself between those pursuing justice and justice itself.

We have recently been reminded of a press conference given soon after that decision by Edward Zammit Lewis and Robert Abela. They congratulated Judge Giovanni Grixti for his decision and derided Simon Busuttil for asking for an inquiry into the 17 Black revelations calling Busuttil “a threat to the rule of law”.

And when Edward Zammit Lewis was done he texted Yorgen Fenech to ask him if they had done the job right.

What’s happening now? What considerations might Judge Giovanni Grixti be making?

Perhaps he’d be considering if there’s a risk Yorgen Fenech might fly if he’s released on bail. Given the fact that he’s already tried to make arrangements for his escape and started executing his plan before he was arrested, given his immeasurable resources outside the country, and given he’s lived abroad for long stretches before, it shouldn’t be a complicated question.

Perhaps the judge would be considering if Yorgen Fenech could seek to intimidate witnesses that are meant to testify against him in his trial. Given that he’s procured guns, bombs, and poison, and given that witnesses have testified in court in fear for their lives, and given he’s accused of hiring others to kill someone he perceived to be an obstacle for his objectives, it shouldn’t be a complicated question.

Judge Giovanni Grixti could be making another consideration. If he were to decide to ignore the law and grant Yorgen Fenech bail, Yorgen Fenech would walk out. Whatever the law says, there’s nothing anyone would be able to do about such a decision. There’s no appeal from a decision to grant or deny bail. There’s nowhere the Attorney General could go to, to point out that this was a breach of what the law requires.

I suppose we’ll have to wait to see what the Judge brings with him to his office tomorrow morning. And then see who is going to be accused of being a ‘threat to the rule of law’ now.

Incidentally, with Aaron Bugeja’s eminently reasonable decision not to hear the trial against Yorgen Fenech, the options of which judge might preside that trial continue to thin out. One of those options is Judge Giovanni Grixti.