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MW 26 April 2017

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2 MIRIAM DALLI THE court has rejected the Prime Minister's request to treat a libel case he instituted against Daphne Caruana Gali- zia, with urgency. In a statement released yes- terday through the Depart- ment of Information, the Of- fice of the Prime Minister said that Joseph Muscat was disap- pointed by the court's decision. "However, the Prime Minister respects the court's decision and will continue to cooperate at all stages," the OPM said. "The Court, having seen the application, observes that this Court is already very busy, and there is no reason for this case to be given precedence over other cases before this court, which also are to be treated as important," the court noted in its decision. Muscat has sued Caruana Galizia for libel after she al- leged that Panamanian com- pany Egrant belonged to his wife, and that an account held by the offshore company re- ceived US$1.017 million from a Dubai-registered company, be- longing to one of the daughters of the Azerbaijani President, Leyla Aliyeva. The allegations are now sub- ject to a magisterial inquiry. The OPM said that "no one more than the Prime Minister and his family want the truth to out". Amid statements by Caruana Galizia that she's refusing to appear before the inquiry, the OPM said that "democracy and the rule of law is to be ob- served by everyone." Magistrate Francesco De- pasquale also rejected similar requests to treat the libel cases filed by Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi with urgency. "The Court, having seen the application, observes that this Court is already has many commitments, and there is no reason for this case to be given precedence over other cases before this court, which also are to be treated as important." In all, a total of four decrees were handed down – one for the Prime Minister, another for Konrad Mizzi and two for Keith Schembri. An additional decree was handed down on April 18 in a second libel suit filed by Schembri. This sec- ond decree also turns down Schembri's request to appoint a judicial assistant. "The court observes that this court must hear the case per- sonally as it always does and the use of a judicial assistance as requested, is not oppor- tune in this case because it is a measure employed only in ex- ceptional circumstances!" The court, however, au- thorised Schembri to present his evidence in its entirety, through affidavits where pos- sible. maltatoday, WEDNESDAY, 26 APRIL 2017 News George Mifsud ON 23 April George, aged 69, widower of Josette nee Said, passed away suddenly. He leaves to mourn his irreparable loss his beloved children Sarah and Chris and his wife Andrea, his much-loved grandchildren George, Alex, Joe, Tom and Matthew, his partner Marie, his father John, his brothers and sisters and their spouses; Mar- these, Joe and Anna, Yvonne, Nancy and Henry, Joan and Dominic, Ray and Pat, Tonio and Grace, Christine and Chris, in-laws, his nephews, nieces, rel- atives and friends. The funeral will be held on Wednesday, 26 April at Msida Parish church, where Mass præsente cadavere will be said at 14:00 followed by a private burial at All Souls Cemetery, Tarxien. No flow- ers by request but donations to Ursuline Sisters Creche, Angela House, Guardamangia will be appreciated. Lord, grant him eternal rest. Court rejects urgent libel hearing requests by Muscat, Mizzi and Schembri Taxi driver jailed for hiding cannabis in fuel cap MATTHEW AGIUS A taxi driver who stashed enough cannabis to make 66 joints in his cab's petrol cap has been jailed for nine months on drug trafficking charges and fined nearly €1,000. Antonio Frendo, 69 from Birkirkara had been arrested after police, acting on a tip-off searched his taxi, which was parked outside a Paceville club. Three foil-wrapped packets of cannabis, weighing 13.36g in to- tal, were found under the vehicle's fuel cap. The accused had confessed to owning the drugs but had insisted that there only intended for per- sonal use. He claimed that he had ended up in possession of the drugs because two Italian passengers had paid him in cannabis. Presiding magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras, however, point- ed out that cannabis cigarettes normally contain around 0.2g of the drug, which meant that the amount recovered from the taxi could make up to 66 joints. The court also noted that the fact that the drugs were found, divided into three packets of almost identical weight, indicated that they were not for Frendo's personal use. The magistrate also highlighted inconsistencies in the accused's explanation. He had initially ex- plained that the drugs had been hidden for safekeeping, but later said that he had done so to hide them from his girlfriend. Frendo was found guilty of ag- gravated possession of the drug, as the circumstances indicated that it was not for his personal use. In its sentencing considerations, the court observed that the ac- cused had, in the past, been found guilty of several traffic violations, corruption of minors, perjury and VAT related offences. Frendo was jailed for nine months and fined €950. Three foil-wrapped packets of cannabis, weighing 13.36g in total, were found under the vehicle's fuel cap Body extracted from Blue Lagoon waters JEANELLE MIFSUD A 61-year old man's body was pulled out of the sea yesterday afternoon after the police were alerted by people who were at the Blue Lagoon in Comino. Members of the Armed Forces of Malta were dispatched to as- sist in extracting the victim, a 61-year-old Polish national, from the sea, after which a doctor and a medical team administered first aid. However, the victim was pronounced dead. Magistrate Paul Coppini has or- dered an inquiry into the case. Obituary

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