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Updated: Judgment on student lawyer deleted from government web site

Magistrate deemed student behaviour “incredibly stupid”.

The judgment on the case involving one of two law students given a warrant despite their criminal record has been removed from the government’s justice services web site.

Thomas Sant, 30, of Qormi and Yanica Barbara, 28, of Attard have been the centre of controversy after they were granted warrants despite being found guilty of theft in 2010, the Times of Malta has reported.

Yet a search on the government’s web site listing all judgments handed down by the courts contained no trace of the judgemens on Barbara, as lawyers confirmed it had been mysteriously deleted.

The Shift News managed to acquire the documents which are being published for the record (below).

Barbara, who was 19 at the time, admitted to stealing a bank card on 19 August 2009 and using it to purchase goods from shops in the Mosta area totalling €327.18. Sant, referred to as her boyfriend, faced the same charges for theft committed on the same day.

Barbara was already studying law at the time, which prompted Magistrate Antonio Giovanni Vella to state the court was “concerned” about her actions, which he deemed “incredibly stupid”.

“With all due respect, this was not some student adventure but an incredibly stupid move that could have disastrous effects on the future of the accused,” the magistrate had said.

She was given a three-year conditional discharge, also based on the fact that she had admitted to the crime in the early stages.

Her boyfriend was handed a conditional discharge for a year in a case heard by Magistrate Antonio Micallef Trigona.

Both ended up making headlines in the last week after four court judges examining the two law students said they could obtain their warrants.

The “flawed” decision from Madam Justice Jacqueline Padovani Grima, Mr Justice Wenzu Mintoff, Mr Justice Tonio Mizzi and Mr Justice Joseph Micallef raised eyebrows within the legal profession, the Times of Malta was told.

Labour MEP Marlene Mizzi waded into the swamp to defend her husband’s decision, placing the blame on Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri.

Ms Mizzi insisted on Facebook that the Chief Justice was aware of the situation before the students had even “sat for the written warrant exam” and did nothing. Reacting, the Chief Justice said he did not assign lawyers to judges, as suggested by the MEP.

Her comments will have bearing on a magisterial inquiry on the Panama Papers involving members of government because her husband refused to recuse himself despite his political links.

Both judgments are being made available here:

Yanica Barbara, reference 1111/2009.

Thomas Sant, reference 1112/2009.

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