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Civil procedures cannot be used to block criminal proceedings

This order was made to protect the interests of the applicant company, since it is a victim of a fraud

malcolm_mifsud
Malcolm Mifsud
23 September 2016, 8:35am
The defendant company was ordered to release merchandise listed in two bills of lading
The defendant company was ordered to release merchandise listed in two bills of lading
A warrant of seizure was revoked after the Court found that the Attorney General had ordered the seizure of merchandise following a request from the Polish authorities. This was decided by Mr Justice Silvio Meli on 7 September 2016 in Yieh Corporation Limited of China, represented by Dr Antoine Cremona -v- CMA CGM Agencies Worldwide representing SA CMA CGM of Marseille, France. 

In his application the Yieh Corporation explained that in June 2016, it was notified by an order of the Attorney General in Malta, which was enforcing an order from the Public Prosecution of Warsaw, Poland, according to the regulations on the enforcement of order in the European Union. 

The defendant company was ordered to release merchandise listed in two bills of lading. This order was made to protect the interests of the applicant company, since it is a victim of a fraud. Notwithstanding this order the defendant company was being accused of blocking this order, since the defendant company requested a warrant of seizure. The applicant company claimed that these actions were abusive and intended to move the merchandise outside Malta. The applicant company requested the Court to order the defendant company to desist from blocking the execution order and to revoke the warrant of seizure.

The defendant company, in its statement of defence, claimed that the applicant company was not making use of the correct procedure, since it had to apply for a counter warrant. However, it denied abusing the judicial process and that the criminal proceedings in Poland should not affect the civil proceedings here in Malta.

Mr Justice Meli analysed the evidence of the case and held that the Attorney General (AG) did issue an enforcement order on the merchandise after receiving a request from the Polish authorities. The AG did not have an option but to comply with this request. Following verifications, a number of items were found in a container at the Freeport. It seems that was a serious case of fraud and both parties are involved in a number of international judicial actions. 

The Court pointed out that this particular action very much depends on the order issued by the AG. There is no contesting that the order issued was a legitimate one and according to law. Therefore, the warrant of seizure requested and given was intended to disturb the AG’s legitimate order and therefore the applicant company managed to prove its case.

Mr Justice Meli, presiding over the First Hall of the Civil Courts, ordered that the defendant company desist from taking actions intended to block the release of the merchandise in favour of the applicant company and also ordered that the warrant of seizure be revoked.

Dr Malcolm Mifsud is partner Mifsud & Mifsud Advocates

malcolm_mifsud
Malcolm Mifsud is a partner at Mifsud & Associates.
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