[WATCH] PM denies preferential treatment on HSBC heist plea for Daren Debono

Robert Abela says he has full trust in Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg over HSBC heist plea for Daren Debono 

Prime Minister Robert Abela (left) and Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg
Prime Minister Robert Abela (left) and Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg

Prime Minister Robert Abela defended Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg after backlash she received, following the plea bargain deal reached with HSBC heist suspect, Darren Debono 'it-Topo'.

“I categorically refute claims the decision taken by the AG was in any way taken to offer a preferential treatment to the person in question,” Abela said in reply to a question about whether Debono could implicate Minister Carmelo Abela in the heist. “I have full trust in the Attorney General, her integrity and work ethic.”

The plea bargain saw Daren Debono it-'Topo handed down a 10-and-a-half-year jail term for his part in the daring heist. The armed hold-up took place in 2010 and ended in a shoot-out with police officers. Debono was injured in the firefight.

Civil society NGO Repubblika said the AG had to explain why she opted out of a more severe sentence, given the circumstances of the case, and went for a plea bargain.

The PN said the AG is obliged to explain how she exercises her rights in criminal procedures of a particular serious nature that impact the public's security.

Abela called the backlash, an “unjust attack” and appealed for respect towards the institutions. “I appeal for respect towards the institutions, as this decision will be reflected in the procedures at a later stage.”

READ ALSO: Police union expresses 'worry, confusion and disgust' at Topo plea deal in judicial protest