Former notary’s conviction quashed on appeal after judgment’s defective format

An Appeals Court has thrown out a conviction against former notary Pierre Falzon but will still hear the case on its merits

A defect in the judgment format helped acquit a former notary but the case will still be heard on its merits by the Appeals Court
A defect in the judgment format helped acquit a former notary but the case will still be heard on its merits by the Appeals Court

A former notary with a five-year jail term hanging on his head saw his conviction quashed by the Appeals Court over a defect in the format of the judgment.

Pierre Falzon, 58, had been found guilty of misappropriation and fraud, and sentenced to five years in jail and refund more than €100,000 to a number of former clients. He faced 37 charges revolving around misappropriation of funds which never made it to public coffers.

Those proceedings had resulted in a lengthy judgment – some 62 pages of evidence, juridical references and reasoning – wherein the Magistrates’ Court had concluded that the prosecution had proved its case.

However, during the appeal the accused’s lawyers contended that the judgment was defective since the first court had failed to expressly indicate the charges upon which it pinned its finding of guilt.

Appeals Court Judge Consuelo Scerri Herrera noted that the first court had made an in-depth analysis of the charges, including those that had been proven and those which the accused was acquitted.

However, in the final part of the judgment the first court failed to indicate the charges on which Falzon was found guilty and this was enough to vitiate the judgment.

On this basis, Scerri Herrera proceeded to annul the guilty verdict but was obliged to determine the merits of the case anew.

She ordered the continuation of the appeal proceedings on the merits of the case.

Lawyers Michael Sciriha and Franco Galea were defence counsel.

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