‘Don’t confuse lawyers with clients’, Chamber of Advocates says over De Marco-Aquilina feud

Chamber 'disappointed' over heated clash between Karol Aquilina and Giannella De Marco in Public Accounts Committee sitting

Giannella de Marco and Karol Aquilina sparred during a session of the PAC in which Electrogas shareholder Paul Apap Bologna testified
Giannella de Marco and Karol Aquilina sparred during a session of the PAC in which Electrogas shareholder Paul Apap Bologna testified

The Chamber of Advocates has expressed disappointment at comments made at a recent ill-tempered session of the Public Accounts Committee, during which PN MP Karol Aquilina took a swipe at Paul Apap Bologna’s lawyer Giannella De Marco for being ‘paid by criminals.’

Both Aquilina and De Marco are lawyers by profession, with De Marco’s practice focusing on the criminal law sphere.

It was not the first time that Aquilina and De Marco crossed swords over questions made to Apap Bologna. The latest exchange happened towards the end of Wednesday’s sitting when Aquilina asked Apap Bologna whether he had any relations with Socar, the Azerbaijani state-owned energy company involved in Electrogas.

Apap Bologna insisted he had no relations with Socar but Aquilina quickly followed up the question with another one asking whether he had ever brokered "something" with the Azerbaijani company.

De Marco interjected, insisting she would not allow Aquilina to use the forum as a political platform at the expense of her client. Aquilina insisted he would not allow the lawyer to “intimidate him.” But when De Marco said she was concerned about human rights, Aquilina had shot back, saying “I am not paid by criminals…”

In a statement on Friday, the Chamber said it noted with disappointment that despite a previous statement on the matter, the attacks on lawyers who were doing their job had persisted. “Attacks are still being made on lawyers through certain reports in sections of the media, as well as on social media, solely for carrying out their duties.”

It reminded that it is a fundamental right of every person to be assisted by a lawyer of their choosing. “The role of the lawyer is precisely that of an active participant throughout the whole process in representation of the client’s interests and should not be implicated with the alleged or actual misdeeds of the client, nor be the subject of criticism just because the lawyer is representing a client and carrying out his/her duty.”

“When the attack is made by another member of the said profession, this renders the fact even more serious,” said the Chamber.

“The Chamber of Advocates believes that for the rule of law to truly prevail, it is essential that all lawyers are allowed to carry out their professional duties freely, and without fear of feeling intimidated or threatened,” it said.