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25th October 2021, 14:46

TG Calls for AG transparency on Lishman case

Together Gibraltar has called on the Attorney General to publicly explain the reasons why he was 'satisfied' with the Director of Public Prosecution's handling of the Real Lishman case, and to publish the advice he was given by a leading English criminal practitioner. It also calls on the Government to look at what steps it can take to ensure that victims of domestic violence are protected.

Real Lishman was originally found guilty of murdering his wife by stabbing her twelve times, including once in the heart, and sentenced to 18 years in prison, but following an appeal, a retrial was ordered. Before this trial was held, Lishman pleaded guilty to manslaughter, and sentenced to ten years and ten months. A successful appeal earlier this month reduced the sentence to six years.

Together Gibraltar says it has not wanted to comment on this issue before it has had the chance to reflect on it in depth, and says despite the public outcry, it's important that politicians do not undermine public faith in the judiciary by appearing to call into question their decisions, particularly when it is not open to judges to defend themselves. It says it is important that politicians practice a responsible style of politics when commenting on such sensitive issues, and believes if our laws do not do enough to protect our women from violent crime, that is not down to the judiciary but to the executive.

The party however questions how there can be such a glaring discrepancy between the Director of Public Prosecutions' assertion that the a reduced charge of manslaughter was in accordance with the family's wishes, while the family itself has maintained that this is entirely untrue.

Together Gibraltar asks what led the prosecution to accept a guilty plea to the charge of manslaughter, reducing the time Mr Lishman will have to spend in prison to a third of what he was originally sentenced to serve. It asks what justice is served if the same prosecution who once fought passionately for a man to be found guilty of murder is suddenly satisfied to charge him with manslaughter, and how is it that the DPP claims that he was acting in conjunction with the expressed wishes of the family, and the family claim that this was never a wish that they had expressed.

It welcomes the Attorney General’s announcement that the complaint filed by Mrs Lishman’s family with the Admissions and Disciplinary Committee will be dealt with and hopes that full details of any findings are shared with the public.

It says it expects that the full reasoning behind the Attorney General’s assessment that he was “satisfied” that the actions of the DPP in this matter were entirely proper will also be shared with the public, including the advice provided by a “leading English criminal practitioner” which led the investigation to conclude that the allegations that the DPP had acted improperly were “unfounded”.

Finally, TG hopes that the Government of Gibraltar is willing to look at what steps it can take to ensure that victims of domestic violence are protected.