Patrick Spiteri still unable to access his files, court told

Spiteri, facing charges of misappropriation of €7.4 million, says he is unable to access 500 boxes of documents he claims to need for his defence, part of which were being held in court

Patrick Spiteri
Patrick Spiteri

A magistrate will be speaking to a representative of the director of prisons in an effort to clear the impasse over documents needed for the defence of former lawyer Patrick Spiteri.

Spiteri, who was extradited to Malta from England in May to face charges of fraud and misappropriation that total some €7.4 million has been held in custody since then, despite filing bail requests before several courts.

Although health grounds were the primary justification provided by the defendant, other reasons given for his bail requests included the argument that he was unable to physically access the 500 boxes of documents he claims to need for his defence, part of which were being held in court and another part being held in a Gwardamangia property that had been seized by HSBC.

This morning magistrate Audrey Demicoli, who was assigned the case after the retirement of magistrate Antonio Micallef Trigona, pointed out that the case had been pending since the year 2004, telling the accused that she was not prepared to keep the case on hold any longer.

Spiteri’s defence counsel, lawyer Stefano Filletti, explained that he needed to confront witnesses with some of the documents in cross-examination. The courts had refused to store any more of the documents when the scale of the amount of storage required became clear. He described the lawyer’s continued detention as an illegal arrest.

The court, however, placed the onus on finding a way forward on the defence. “You have to find a solution, I can’t find it for you. The accused can tell you what to look for and you find it.”

“I’m not saying its the court’s duty to find a solution,” replied Filletti, “but the accused has a sacrosanct right to prepare his defence.” The prison authorities had also refused to store the documents, even in installments, due to lack of space he said.

Magistrate Demicoli ordered the prosecution to summon a representative of Corradino Correctional Facility for the next sitting on October 20th so as to find a compromise.

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