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Cases against Zeppi l-Hafi dropped

Three pending cases against Joseph Fenech, also known as Żeppi-il-Hafi, were dropped today after he invoked a presidential pardon given to him in 1996.

In the first case he stood charged for his involvement in the attempted murder the former prime minister's personal assistant Richard Cachia Caruana, the second in which he stood charged with stealing more than €2,300 together with two men, Abraham Grima and Tarcisio Borg from a house and the third in which he stood charged with conspiring to import cocaine.

In the theft case, Mr Borg and Mr Grima had been found guilty of the theft and each received four year suspended jail terms.

In the second case, Mr Fenech stood charged with conspiring to import cocaine together with Meinrad Calleja and Mr Calleja's sister Clarissa.

After they stood trial by jury Clarissa Calleja was acquitted while her brother was found guilty and jailed for 15 years and fined Lm30, 000.

Former President Ugo Mifsud Bonnici gave him a general presidential pardon acting on a recommendation from then Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami in May 1996.

The pardon could be either general or specific, meaning that Mr Fenech could use it against all his cases. It was granted under two conditions that he testified when required to and helped the police.

The cases against Mr Fenech had gone on for such a long time as there was a pending constitutional case instituted by Charles Attard also known as Iz-Zambi against the Prime Minister, the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police saying that the presidential pardon should have never been granted.

Mr Attard recently dropped the case after declaring that he no longer had any interest.

In today's sitting lawyers Franco Debono, Roberto Montalto and Marion Camilleri asked the court to drop the pending cases against their client after they had been pending for a number of years.

This request had been filed in September 2007 and only decided yesterday when Mr Justice Noel Cuschieri declared that the presidential pardon is a general one and hence the cases could be dropped.

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