Court refuses Yorgen Fenech's third bail request

Yorgen Fenech says that suspension of his court hearings while he's under preventive arrest is a breach of his human rights

Yorgen Fenech
Yorgen Fenech

The court, presided over by Judge Edwina Grima, has denied Yorgen Fenech bail once again. 

The decision was made on Tuesday after a bail application submitted by Fenech on 6 April. The bail application said that Fenech was having his right to a fair hearing breached since COVID-19 restrictive measures imposed by the government had prevented his hearing from continuing.

"He hasn’t had an audience in court for over 8 weeks and is still under preventive arrest without the possibility of a bail hearing. It’s not only his right to a fair hearing that is being breached but also his fundamental human right to his health and life, since his being contained in the small prison environment would put him at a larger risk of infection," the defence's court application read.

The defence added that despite the pandemic, he is still to be considered innocent until proven guilty.

The defence disagrees with the Attorney General that there has been no change in the circumstances of the case. “This is because it’s been eight weeks since the last compilation, eight more weeks of arrest. That in itself merits revision.”

The judge, however, was in agreement with the Attorney General and said that the nature of the alleged crime was serious enough to merit preventive arrest, not to mention that Fenech had only been arrested four months ago.

"The defendant has already submitted two bail requests, both of which were rejected by this court. Since that time, a state of emergency was declared, which resulted in the closure of the courts and suspension of hearing. However, the same fears of this court with regard to the accused's bail still remain," the court decided on Tuesday.

It added that although the presumption of innocence was a right at law, it doesn't mean that the accused is granted automatic bail. 

Finally, it said, the compilation is still at an early stage and plenty of witnesses were yet to testify, the court said. 

The court rejected Fenech's third request for bail.