4 May, 2024 @ 08:00
1 min read

Anticipation grows in Gibraltar ahead of Chief Minister Fabian Picardo’s testimony to the McGrail Inquiry as key witnesses struck by forgetfulness

THE McGrail Inquiry is heading into its final furlong with key players shedding light on the events surrounding police chief Ian McGrail’s early retirement – but the biggest testimony is yet to come.

Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo will take the stand on Monday with a number of questions to answer after nearly four weeks of witnesses struggling to recall events or find Whatsapps.

The inquiry saw Attorney General Michael Llamas discomforted last week under intense cross examination from barristers representing both McGrail and former Superintendent Paul Richardson.

Llamas admitted ‘in hindsight’ he failed to advise Picardo not to involve himself in a police operation that concerned his own business interests.

READ MORE: MCGRAIL INQUIRY: Gibraltar’s ‘most powerful lawyer’ finally takes to the stand as Hassans senior partner dodges questions on missing messages and casts doubt on police investigation 

Gibraltar Attorney General Michael Llamas. Credit: GBC News

It was also heard that the Attorney General called the Royal Gibraltar Police ‘clowns’ and McGrail ‘a bull in a china shop’ in their efforts to carry out a search warrant against Hassans senior partner James Levy.

Levy himself came under heavy questioning in the second week regarding his missing communications with the Chief Minister.

He told the inquiry that his phone had ‘collapsed’ and his tech specialists were unable to recover the mssages.

While his own lawyer, Lewis Baglietto, blithely told the inquiry he had ‘routinely’ deleted his communications with Picardo in 2021 – just one year after the crucial events. 

Even Picardo has failed to hand over his Whatsapps with Levy, which is sure to be one of the first questions Adam Wagner KC and Patrick Gibbs KC will be eager to quiz him on.

Efforts to paint the Chief Minister as party to a criminal conspiracy have fallen flat, however.

Operation Delhi into the alleged ‘hacking and sabotage’ of the computer system that monitored Gibraltar’s border with Spain saw the suspects attempting to transfer the contract to North 36, a company partially owned by Hassans partner – which includes Picardo.

However Picardo, as Chief Minister, ultimately decided not to transfer the government contract at the heart of the inquiry to North 36. 

Meanwhile, McGrail’s police day-book, desktop computer, laptop and documents have not been handed over either.

Walter Finch

Walter - or Walt to most people - is a former and sometimes still photographer and filmmaker who likes to dig under the surface.
A NCTJ-trained journalist, he came to the Costa del Sol - Gibraltar hotspot from the Daily Mail in 2022 to report on organised crime, corruption, financial fraud and a little bit of whatever is going on.
Got a story? [email protected]

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