All the chatter in legal and media circles is over the decision of the deputy leader of the GSD, Daniel Feetham, to threaten legal proceedings against the New People edited by Juan Carlos Perez. Of course for the rest of Gibraltar more important matters such as the price of fish and whether Rafa Benitez was a good choice as manager for Chelsea holds sway.
I have not read the article that has Feetham up in arms but I gather the gist of it. However I have seen the letter from Hassans threatening fire and brimstone unless Perez and the New People recant. For those who might be interested the article revolves around allegations of corruption in that Feetham’s car is alleged to have undergone repairs in the government repair shop and whether a bill was paid or not.
Curiously the letter from Hassans (which is an irony in itself) is fairly sterile and refers to “our client”: indeed as far as I can recall there was a signature but no name just the corporate Hassans sign off.
Of course this belies the fact that the said Daniel Feetham is a partner of Hassans as is his brother Nigel. So did Daniel write his own letter? I do not believe either Daniel or indeed Nigel are libel lawyers so did he get somebody else to pen it for him? As I am reliably informed the Feethams have been in the habit of passing work to the former Supreme Leader Peter Caruana, perhaps he wrote it. It would be interesting to know.
I am not a lawyer but a mere hack but I would have though the purpose of sending such a letter could severe one of two purposes: perhaps both. Whether innocent or guilty the sender might hope to put the fear of God in to the recipient and have him or her back down. Well Perez, a former government minister, MP and political heavyweight in the truest sense of the word, is not going to be intimidated: so if that was the intention then the ploy is doomed to failure. The other purpose would be if the recipient did not meet the letter’s terms, or opt to negotiate, then to go to court to seek justice presumably in the belief you’ll win. It remains to be seen how this battle plays out in the coming weeks.
However Feetham points out in his/Hassans letter that political corruption is a criminal offence. Indeed it is. So what if in this skirmish Perez should win the battle with Feetham – will the deputy GSD leader and former Justice Minister be prosecuted? Just asking!
Daniel Feetham was a member of the last GSD government. So if corruption is detected in the awarding of say the airport contracts or as being the cause of the original cost overrunning by such a huge amount then one presumes he will support the prosecution of those involved.
If the GSD government is found to have acted corruptly in the awarding of other contracts or breaking EU contract laws then no doubt Daniel Feetham supports the prosecution of the minister or ministers involved.
If there is found to be corruption in the affairs of the GSD government then I am sure Daniel Feetham will want to see his former colleague or colleagues brought to book too. Indeed the Attorney General has stated that the caretaker GSD administration did act illegally over the promise of a pay increase to a government owned company during the election period. As Feetham was the Minister of Justice when then this illegal act took place should he be prosecuted? Just asking, just asking!
Whilst we are on the law: the former Supreme Leader broke Gibraltar’s Nature Protection Act by allowing Spanish fishermen to illegally fish in our waters. The decision to break that law was taken whilst Feetham still had hopes of one day leading the GSLP. However he was Justice Minister during the period when the former Supreme Leader continued to flout that law. So does he support the prosecution of his political boss for breaking the law?
May be he does: may be he doesn’t – or may be is it one law for the GSD and another for the rest of us.