Magistrate Lia cites ‘threatening letter’, defers Pilatus case until end October

Repubblika says hearing lasted less than a minute in all and magistrate ignored lawyers’ requests to even ‘say a word’

 

In the latest in a series of events in the drama unfolding in the courtroom of Magistrate Nadine Lia, the magistrate on Thursday cited an anonymous “threatening letter” she received this week and summarily postponed, in a hearing that lasted under one minute, the controversial Pilatus Bank case until 27 October.

The drama involves the case in which civil society group Repubblika is accusing the police of dereliction of duty by having failed to charge the bank’s directors a year-and-a-half down the road since a magisterial inquiry concluded such a course of action should be taken.

“Everyone present in the courtroom was surprised by how the hearing was held,” Repubblika President Robert Aquilina said this morning.

“It only lasted a few seconds. Neither we nor our lawyer were allowed to say a word, even though we clearly indicated we had something to say.”

He said Repubblika is now even more determined to ensure it will, at the end of the day, “receive a proper hearing before a truly impartial court.

“Above all, we are determined to see that the Police Commissioner is not allowed to ignore the written orders given to him by the magistrate who conducted the Pilatus Bank inquiry.”

Repubblika said earlier this week that it would be taking the case to the constitutional court after Magistrate Lia refused requests to recuse herself from the case and to not allow testimony before her from her father-in-law, top Labour lawyer Pawlu Lia.

Repubblika argues the magistrate cannot be impartial since her father-in-law is the lawyer of former prime minister Joseph Muscat and his chief of staff Keith Schembri. Repubblika contends that since Muscat and Schembri are “alleged beneficiaries of its [Pilatus’] criminal activities” it is in their “manifest interest that the directors of Pilatus Bank are never brought to justice”.

Repubblika’s lawyer Jason Azzopardi filed a note with the Court Registry after Thursday’s short-lived hearing explaining how the magistrate had referred to the anonymous letter, abruptly adjourned the case for almost a month and a half, refused to entertain requests for lawyers’ statements, suspended her hearings for five minutes and left the courtroom.

On Tuesday Magistrate Lia received an anonymous letter advising her that she should have recused herself from the Pilatus case and threatening her career and her life. A magisterial inquiry has been opened into the incident.

In its note to the courts, Repubblika unreservedly condemned the threatening anonymous letter the magistrate reported receiving, but took no small amount of exception to insinuations that the group had anything, “even remotely” to do with the letter.

                           
                               
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Patrick Sciberras
Patrick Sciberras
16 days ago

Now we know what is the true reason for the “threatening letter”.

simon oosterman
simon oosterman
15 days ago

More time is needed to get rid of any evidence?

carlos
16 days ago

I’m against the threatening of people whoever they are, but, the big question is WHO WROTE THIS LETTER?

Lawrence Mifsud
Lawrence Mifsud
16 days ago
Reply to  carlos

To me, the question is ‘is there a letter?’

KLAUS
KLAUS
16 days ago

It seems that the corrupt now can no longer sleep well and have shot themselves here a real own goal.

How many times were the family of Daphne CARUANA GALIZIA threatened this year alone?
How many times Robert Aquilina or other people from repubblika?
How often the SHIFT team?

That this is a pathetic charade can be seen by the awful reaction of the “JUDGE”, this was not a trial, this was just simple minded crap even for the corrupt:

REPUBBLIKA IS CLOSE TO DEPRIVING THE MAFIA MONSTER.

Watcher of the road
Watcher of the road
16 days ago

Very convenient. Another threatening letter in October will defer the case to November, and, ad infinitum.

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
15 days ago

Magistrate Nadine Lia made a cardinal mistake when she left the court room without listening to what Repubblika had to say through their lawyer. Her behaviour gave the implication that Repubblika is somehow responsible for the anonymous letter. The magistrate should note that Repbblika always criticised above board and the speakers were known and took responsibility for what they said. The argument is that Repubblika is saying that magistrate Nadine Lia cannot be impartial. The magistrate might not agree with this, but she has to respect their argument.

makjavel
makjavel
15 days ago

The Labour Party has the sole record for Frame Ups in Malta.
Mintoff started with Boffa.
Then came Pietru Pawl Busuttil frame up, with a gun that was fired from a minister’s car and then the police misplacing the gun in the wrong farm and placing again in Busutil’s
Then Giovanna Debono’s Husband frame up , with the present PM being kicked out of court for wasting the court’s time.
If an anonymous letter is damaging to the reciever , the reciever should be worried because it means that the reciever can be black mailed. The reciever should do the right thing and protect his position.

Peter
Peter
15 days ago

I guess a corrupt person would be tempted to send a letter to himself to be viewed as the victim and not be forced to recuse himself by the constitutional court…hmmm

Joe Borg
Joe Borg
15 days ago

How are they planning to ruin her marriage unless they know something we don’t ?

Joe Dingli
Joe Dingli
15 days ago

Whether true or not, what a lack of professionalism to disseminate the letter and try to profit off of it and try to manipulate other courts not to force her to recuse herself.
The more reason to have her removed, unethical and unprofessional.
And by the way ruin her career and ‘marriage’? Have threat-makers gotten so soft? Or maybe other more explicit wording would not have been adequate for the media….

makjavel
makjavel
15 days ago
Reply to  Joe Dingli

Long time ago , when the world was young , Judges were role models , who for correctness and to be beyond suspicion only mixed with themselves. Why. This was Exactly the way such anonymous letters would never bother the reciever. Judges should never be in such situations . What happens if an accused actually threatens a judge ? Does anybody think that if the threat is real , the threat is made public. I have my doubts. Malta had a bad experience with a judge that ended in the wrong road.

Francis Said
Francis Said
15 days ago

A shameful example of a totally disorganised Court system.
If she had quoted the reason that Repubblika are seeking her recusal in a legal manner, I can understand her reason for postponing the sitting.
Let me make it abundantly clear that whoever wrote and passed on that threatening letter, is a coward and I hope that this vile individual is caught, tried and jailed. Whoever it may be.

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