samedi, janvier 14, 2006

We Are Not Alone

"The press is like the air, a chartered libertine" - William Pitt

It seems that Maltatoday's flirting with fried potatoes has attracted someone elses attention.... from today's Times (further comments later - am in a rush to travel to France for another weekend.) I.M. Beck writes...

Get real

I sometimes enjoy a read through MaltaToday of a Sunday, though I have to admit that it sometimes irritates me no end, which is not a bad thing in a newspaper. Imagine how boring life would be if I agreed with everything I read or if everyone agreed with everything I write.

Last Sunday's edition, though, made me think a bit about the grasp on reality that the chaps responsible for the paper have. That's not to say that they go around with flowers in their hair behaving like Flower Children of the 1960s but more a reflection on the corporate ingenuousness that is sometimes in evidence.

A story on the front page put me in this frame of mind - basically, the piece talked about how Parliamentary Secretary Tony Abela's name is still linked with a bloke with whom people like Dr Abela should not be linked. Apparently, the two protagonists had been shareholders together in a couple of enterprises quite a few years ago and when the other bloke got into some spot of bother with the law, Dr Abela disengaged.

MaltaToday's grand scoop, duly exposed on the front page, was that the relevant data on the company at the MFSA still showed the two people concerned to be involved with it. At first glance, a layman might think that this was pretty damning evidence, but to people who know about these things, and the people at MaltaToday are people who know or should know about these things, all the evidence really means, in itself, is that no one has actually got around to putting the relevant paperwork through.

I'm not acting as Dr Abela's defence counsel as he is perfectly capable of doing this for himself, but I'm simply pointing out that if you're going to trumpet a scoop from your high horse, you need to have something a tad more substantial than evidence of simple administrative negligence.

There was another story, on the same front page, that lambasted Dr Carmel Mangion, a notary by trade and also a deputy leader of the jolly old Labour Party, for acting as the notary receiving the deed in connection with the purchase of Pender Place by clients of his.

Now, there's nothing - absolutely nothing - wrong with Dr Mangion acting as a notary in his professional capacity in connection with this deal, notwithstanding that the MLP machine has seen fit to dump on it quite a bit. Notaries, without wishing to diminish their professional standing, are not financial or business advisers but simply recorders of property transactions and, as such, then, there was, equally simply, no conflict of interest whatsoever on Dr Mangion's part.

Just to add some aroma to the non-smell that it was trying to report on, MaltaToday added a comment that this was tantamount to lawyers being holier than thou in Parliament when passing laws prohibiting people from doing things and then spending their working days defending people caught doing the same things that had just been prohibited.

With all due respect, which is what one says when one is being rude, this is tosh. The rule of law is based on people being given the right to a full and proper defence by counsel of their choice and the fact that a lawyer may not actually be in favour of murder or drug-dealing or whatever does not preclude him or her from acting as defence counsel.

Can't say I don't agree! Ta-ta and bon weekend.
The Orphan.

6 commentaires:

Fausto Majistral a dit…

Hmm, maybe "I. M. Beck" is the pseudonym of none other than ...

Matthew a dit…

Iva, ovvja u merhba biha l-kritika: ma ninsewx li giet mill-istess nies ukoll... nutara u avukati. Biex intenn dak li ga nkiteb, din hija kwistjoni ta' kredibilita politika, xejn izjed.

Li ma nistax nifhem hija ghaliex Charles Mangion mhux elokwenti daqs il-Lux cheese u l-bocca meta mistoqsi jekk ghandux problem ta' political cred (misthija forsi?) jew ghaliex illum Jason Micallef ma halliex in-Net isaqsulu l-mistoqsija lil Charles Mangion "ghax gew tard ghall-press conference...".

Iva, supra partes... mhux biss in-nutara, anki l-politici supra partes illum.

Matthew a dit…

The point I have to add... it was Charles Mangion who said his situation was nothing different from lawyer MPs legislating for tougher laws against criminals whom they end up defending in court.

MaltaToday did not generalise: politically Mangion's situation is the same as say, Anglu Farrugia defending Zeppi l-Hafi in court. Two unique situations.

Jacques René Zammit a dit…

I hate to take up the argument again. Unfortunately it is lawyers who study the law and understand it. So you will find (surprisingly) that they are experts in the area (though many seem to regret it). Anyways, the issue of political credibility still depends on whether he did something wrong whether you admit it or not. I still think - bearing in mind our society's way of working - there is nothing damaging.

Matthew a dit…

political credibility depends on CREDIBILITY, x'qed tghid...??

Jacques René Zammit a dit…

CREDIBILITY is a measure not an abstract. You ask if something is credible. But there has to be something. In this case that something is Notary Mangion's actions. Can he remain credible if he is in a party that criticises a sale and be the notary in the same sale?

What we are saying is that his position (legal) does not show any bias in favour or against the sale. Hence he can still crticise the sale and be the notary at the same time and remain CREDIBLE.

Dak li qed nghid.