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MALTATODAY 11 September 2022

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2 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 11 SEPTEMBER 2022 NEWS Broken and fighting to keep his house CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Pace was unemployed and unable to work because of a se- rious workplace injury he sus- tained a few years earlier. He was deemed vulnerable by psy- chologists and the bill panicked him. In search of a solution, Pace was introduced to Gialanze by a relative. Cash-strapped and fearing that he would lose his house, Pace believed Gialanze's offer to help was genuine and plausible. The house as collateral The young man, who styled himself as a businessman, would settle Pace's bill if he put up his house as collateral for a bank loan. Pace was told the 'loan', which was actually an overdraft of €200,000, was intended for a business venture and once the bank cleared it, the outstanding bill would be settled. In April 2011, Pace appeared as guarantor for Gialanze on a bank contract, confident that the promise of a successful business would mean early set- tlement of the bank loan and the lifting of the guarantee. Pace never received the prom- ised €5,000 to settle his housing bill and in January 2015, three years after Gialanze's disap- pearance, the bank opened a court case against Gialanze and Pace, to recoup the outstanding debt. The case is ongoing. Constitution of debt But Pace's saga did not end with the bank loan and sev- en months later, in November 2011, he was coaxed to act as guarantor in a constitution of debt agreement worth €100,000, which Gialanze owed an indi- vidual called Anthony Mizzi. Gialanze had warned Pace that unless he acted as guarantor he would be on his own in trying to solve the issue with the bank. In his vulnerable state, Pace accepted but was comforted by the fact that Gialanze would put up his apartment, Bentley and BMW X5 as the first guaran- tees. However, Gialanze's pos- sessions were not included in the actual contract drawn up by the notary, leaving Pace fully exposed. It is this agreement, which is at the heart of Pace's latest trou- bles. In January 2013, barely two months after Gialanze went missing, Mizzi sought to recoup his money by calling on Pace to settle the dues given that he had stood as guarantor. Pace took the matter to court. He asked for the November 2011 contract to be declared null and void, claiming it was illicit because it was a case of usury. Mizzi denied the claims, in- sisting the money owed was not the repayment of a loan but money forked out for a "busi- ness venture" with Gialanze. The court ruled against Pace but accepted evidence submit- ted that part of the €100,000 had actually been paid by Gi- alanze and the remaining bal- ance due to Mizzi was €44,000. The court of appeal confirmed the judgment, leaving Pace lia- ble for €44,000 as guarantor on the agreement. Terence Gialanze's father not allowed to testify But Pace is now contesting the court's decision not to allow Gi- alanze's father, Walter Gialan- ze, to testify in the case. Walter Gialanze had been living abroad at the time and the court moved to close proceedings without listening to Walter's testimony. Subsequently, Pace asked for Walter Gialanze to testify dur- ing the appeal's stage, having also obtained a sworn affidavit from him. But this was also de- nied by the Appeal's Court. In constitutional proceedings filed by his lawyer Tonio Azz- opardi, Pace argues that Wal- ter Gialanze had been listed as a witness in the case from the very start of proceedings and thus had to be allowed to testify. Pace argues Walter's testimo- ny is important to the case since he stepped in a number of times to bail out his son when faced with angry creditors. Walter Gialanze had also forked out several payments to Mizzi in the two months before his son went missing. Citing case law, Azzopardi says that the courts have made exceptions, grounded in law, al- lowing witnesses to testify at ap- peal's stage if they are deemed important for the better admin- istration of justice despite their names not having been notified from the start. "If the law allows exceptions to the rule when the name [of a witness] is not listed, how much more should the law al- low a witness to testify given the name had been listed [when the case was filed]," Azzopardi says in his submissions with the Constitutional Court. The lawyer claims that Pace's human rights to a fair hearing and effective remedy at law were breached when the courts decided not to allow Walter Gi- alanze to testify or accept that his affidavit be presented as proof. Notary's questionable behaviour Azzopardi is also asking the Constitutional Court to take in- to consideration the behaviour of the notary who drafted the constitution of debt between Mizzi and Gialanze. Azzopardi noted, among other things, that the notary had not asked Mizzi to present a power of attorney granted to him by his wife – he signed the contract on his own – and failed to ask Terence Gialanze to present the contract of separation from his wife. Gialanze was listed as sepa- rated on the contract, when in actual fact he was still married. Azzopardi is arguing that the notary's behaviour exposed his client to unnecessary financial burdens. Azzopardi is asking the Con- stitutional Court to allow Wal- ter Gialanze to testify and de- termine financial compensation for his client given that his fun- damental rights were breached. Terence Gialanze went missing in November 2012. The inquiry into his disappearance remains open after 10 years. The 24-year-old lived a lavish lifestyle, drove luxury cars and entertained on his boat, all while in debt with banks and money lenders Pace argues the testimony of Terence Gialanze's father is important to the case since he stepped in a number of times to bail out his son when faced with angry creditors

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