Case over Anglu Xuereb 1994 campaign overspending declared time-barred

Xuereb had been accused of spending in excess of the legally-imposed limit of Lm500 (€1,150) in his successful bid for the office of mayor of Naxxar

Former Naxxar Mayor Anglu Xuereb
Former Naxxar Mayor Anglu Xuereb

A criminal case filed against entrepreneur Anġlu Xuereb in 1994 for having allegedly spent more than the legal limit on his campaign to become mayor of Naxxar, was declared time-barred by a court this morning.

Xuereb had been accused of spending in excess of the legally-imposed limit of Lm500 (€1,150) in his successful bid for the office of mayor of Naxxar. He was also accused of failing to submit a report on his campaign spending to the Electoral Commission on time and with making a false declaration to the authorities.

Xuereb had first appeared in court on January 24, 1995. The case which, over the years, was inherited by several magistrates had been deferred due to a pending constitutional case.

Magistrate Charmaine Galea noted how the case had been put off for the prosecution to present evidence on October 26, 2000, but that it had never done so.

On February 1, 2002, the court put off the case indefinitely, noting that the prosecution did not appear to have an interest in pursuing the case.

The case was recalled in May of that year and some evidence was heard but on October 10, 2005  the court postponed the case sine die.

The case appointed for the third time in 2018 with Xuereb appearing in court on June 27, 2018 -  13 years after the last hearing.

After considering that the penalties in case of conviction, the court also observed that in terms of the law as amended in 2002, prescription in criminal cases was interrupted from the date of the charges or the notification of the cases until sentencing.

Citing Maltese legal scholar Prof Anthony Mamo, the court observed that in order for acts of the proceedings to interrupt the running of prescription, they had to actually be served on the accused person.

Because it had been shown that in this case, for 13 years, Xuereb had not been notified of any act which could interrupt prescription, the court declared the case to be time-barred.

Lawyers Michael Schriha and Patrick Galea appeared for Mr Xuereb.

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