A high court ruling in Malta has declared that the man accused of trading in influence and complicity in a request for a €60 million bribe from a Swedish tobacco company, had his human rights breached when the Attorney General refused to declare his evidence closed, according to a story by Matthew Vella for Malta Today.
The ruling in favour of restauranteur Silvio Zammit was handed down by the Court of Constitutional Appeal, which confirmed a decision by the civil court in its constitutional jurisdiction.
Zammit was accused in 2012 of having requested the bribe from snus manufacturer, Swedish Match, and the European Smokeless Tobacco Council (ESTOC), a lobby group, in a bid to convince the-then European Commissioner for health to lift an EU ban on snus, which can be sold legally in Sweden but may not be sold in other European countries.
In its decision, the Court said the law courts hearing the compilation of evidence against Zammit could not delay the process any longer over the inability to summon a witness, who is based in Belgium, to testify in the proceedings.
It said the Attorney General, who appealed the decision that found for Zammit, had the onus to bring the ESTOC secretary, Inge Delfosse, to testify in Malta and not use this snag as an excuse to let the case gather dust on a shelf.
The case against Zammit was filed by the Malta police in 2012 but the Attorney General has so far refused to declare his evidence closed after the last witness refused to testify in the bribery case.