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MT 15 February 2017

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JURGEN BALZAN EMAILS sent by a senior lawyer at the Attorney General's office warned government that its de- cision to plough ahead with re- introducing finch trapping was "contrary to the express and con- sistent legal advice of this Office." Emails seen by MaltaToday clearly show that contrary to the impression given by govern- ment, the AG warned that Mal- ta's chances win the case which will heard today were highly improbable given that the Euro- pean Court of Justice (ECJ) was very different to national courts, "where mere rhetoric or a clever play of words may sometimes win one a case." The AG's office noted that it had a duty to tell the government the truth in regards to its chances of winning the case and it would be an unacceptable breach of trust if it were to mislead govern- ment into thinking that it has a strong case. The AG added that although it was aware that the chances were "very slim" it would do its best to argue its case as convincingly as possible. In an email sent to the head of the Wild Birds Regulation Unit Sergei Golovkin on 7 August 2014, the senior lawyer clearly explained that "the derogation would per se run counter to the purpose and spirit of the Birds' Directive." The Attorney General's office underlined that the legal argu- ments are "inherently very weak" that stand little chance of being upheld by the ECJ. This drew an angry reaction from Golovkin, who replied "I am not sure whether such a position is, at this stage particularly con- structive." He added that "it is no longer a situation of opting to apply dero- gation, but a situation of imple- mentation of government deci- sion and its defence in the face of potential legal challenge." The court will begin hearing the European Commission's case against Malta on finch trapping today, a practice that was banned following Malta's accession to the EU but reintroduced by the Labour government. In today's sitting, the Maltese government will be represented at the courts by the Attorney General, aided by the local law firm CCX Advocates and global law firm Stibbe. The European Commission will be represented by Maltese lawyer Ken Mifsud Bonnici and German lawyer Christoph Hermes, both legal advisors on environmental law. WWW.MALTATODAY.COM.MT WEDNESDAY EDITION €1.00 Newspaper post PAGE 4 PAGE 5 WEDNESDAY • 15 FEBRUARY 2017 • ISSUE 509 • PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AND SUNDAY 2131 2020 I Issued by Bank of Valletta p.l.c. 58, Triq San Żakkarija, Il-Belt Valletta VLT 1130 BOV INVESTMENT FUNDS your success is our goal BOV Investment Funds Past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance. The value of the investment can go down as well as up. Investments should be based on the full details of the Prospectus, Offering Supplement and the Key Investor Information Document which may be obtained from BOV Asset Management Limited, Bank of Valletta p.l.c. Branches/Investment Centres and other Licensed Financial Intermediaries. BOV Asset Management Limited is licensed to provide Investment Services in Malta by the MFSA. The BOV Investment Funds is a common contractual fund licenced by the MFSA as a collective investment scheme pursuant to the Investment Services Act and the UCITS Directive. Issued by BOV Asset Management Limited, registered address 58, Triq San Żakkarija, Il-Belt Valletta VLT 1130. Tel: 21227311, Fax: 22755661, Email:, Website: Source: BOV Asset Management Limited AG: 'Play of words' not enough to win finch trapping case In emails seen by MaltaToday Wild Birds Regulation Unit head Sergei Golovkin admits government and AG have diverging views on defence of finch trapping derogation Wild Birds Regulation Unit Sergei Golovkin accused the AG of being 'unconstructive' Mediation proposed before libel cases enter court TIM DIACONO PRECAUTIONARY warrants against journalists will be abol- ished and criminal libel will be struck off, as part of a wholesale revamp to Malta's press laws. Justice minister Owen Bonnici finally published the contents of the proposed press law revamp that was tabled for its first reading in Parliament back in October. The proposed law will abolish criminal libel entirely, and intro- duce a preliminary hearing for aggrieved parties and de- fendants to seek a mediatory solution before heading into court. But the new law proposed an of increase fines for civil cases – from a maximum of €11,000 to a maximum of €20,000. This will also mean that libel cases will no longer be presided over by a magis- trate, but by a judge. When a case is filed for civil libel, the Court will appoint the case for a preliminary hearing within a pe- riod of 20 days, and decide – giving due regard to the seriousness any allegation and its impact on the plaintiff – whether the action may be deter- mined summarily or by mediation or agreement between the parties, or through an apology. A sum not exceeding €1,000 could be levied at this mediation stage, if the Court considers it ap- propriate to dispose of the action through an apology. Malians facing deportation released after three months JURGEN BALZAN MATTHEW AGIUS THE nine Malians facing de- portation were released yester- day after spending 90 days in detention, because "there is no indication of when Mali will send documents", home affairs minister Carmelo Abela said. The nine migrants were the last remaining of 33 Malians who were rounded up and de- tained on 16 November last year, after the EU agreed to pro- vide aid to Mali in return for the West African country's com- mitment to accept failed asylum seekers. However, the Malian government has so far refused to take in people from Europe. Describing the Malians as "failed asylum seekers," Abela said the men will be deported to Mali "once paper work comes through." The move was welcomed by NGOs and activists who in the last few weeks launched the 'Free the Nine' campaign and called for the release from de- tention of the Malians which they said went against national and EU law and in breach their human dignity Addressing a a hastily organ- ised press conference yester- day afternoon, Abela said "the question is 'what is their status?' Their status is that they are failed asylum seekers. Accord- ing to EU directives, they have to be deported to their country of origin...The only action for failed asylum seekers not only in Malta but across the EU is to return them to their country of origin." "These are failed asylum seek- ers and their status will remain as such until they are deported." PAGE 2 Evarist Bartolo and Owen Bonnici WWW.MALTATODAY.COM.MT WEDNESDAY EDITION WEDNESDAY AG: 'Play of words' not enough ISSUE NO. 74 | FEBRUARY 2017 THE OFFICIAL JOURNAL OF THE KAMRA TALPERITI NEWSPAPER POST FREE

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