Chief Justice Anthony Dudley has today handed down a ruling allowing the costs application brought against OCPL by Thomas Cornelio, John Perez MBE, and Caine Sanchez to proceed to a disclosure hearing.

After a lengthy criminal process the three former defendants, Thomas Cornelio, John Perez MBE and Caine Sanchez were discharged on all counts on 21 January 2022. They contended the RGP’s Operation Delhi investigation and resulting prosecution was brought and pursued in bad faith and have applied to recover their legal costs accordingly. The same principled objections they raised prior to being charged were considered afresh after 16 months of criminal process.

Finally, the proceedings were discontinued 39 days before the application to dismiss was due to be heard by the Supreme Court. It is against that background that the Chief Justice has ruled the application must proceed after dismissing a series of jurisdictional objections raised by the DPP. Notably the CJ’s judgment recognised that common law disclosure rules apply to relevant materials in the DPP’s possession in costs proceedings. This important clarification of the law and the jurisdiction of the courts in Gibraltar will help the court determine the bad faith issue it is now seized of.

OCPL has resisted the claim to recover costs, arguing that even if the proceedings were brought in bad faith, the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to order OCPL to reimburse the defendants. Chief Justice Dudley’s ruling this morning dismissed this argument, holding the Supreme Court did have the power that the defendants are asking it to exercise. He also ruled that the Court could compel OCPL to disclose documents that might help the defendants to present their case for reimbursement of costs. The case has been adjourned for argument as to what documents should be disclosed by OCPL, and also to co-ordinate with the McGrail Inquiry which is looking at some similar issues.

Messrs Cornelio, Perez and Sanchez are represented in the proceedings in the Supreme Court by Ben Cooper KC and Ellis Sareen.