Constitutional Court rules Nadine Lia recusal case to be heard ‘with urgency’

The Constitutional Court has ruled that a Constitutional case on the requested recusal of Magistrate Nadine Lia from Repubblika’s Pilatus Bank officials case should be heard urgently given its magnitude.

Repubblika’s case concerns the police’s failure to prosecute the bank’s former top brass after a magisterial inquiry into financial crimes at the bank recommended arraignments.

Repubblika is also arguing that its fundamental right to a fair hearing was being breached by having Magistrate Nadine Lia hearing the case since she has a conflict of interest in that she is the daughter-in-law of Pawlu Lia, who is the lawyer of former prime minister Joseph Muscat and former chief of staff Keith Schembri. The clients of the magistrate’s father-in-law could stand to be contaminated by the case as it is heard, which has given rise to questions over the magistrate’s suitability pt preside over the case.

Speaking on Thursday, Repubblika President Robert Aquilina welcomed the ruling, adding that the Court also ordered that the challenge case against the Police Commissioner will be suspended and, as such, it will not be heard before Magistrate Lia, or any other magistrate, for the time being.

“We are very satisfied with this development and that the constitutional case will now be heard with greater urgency and that the highest court of the land is convinced of the seriousness of the case we have opened.

“We look forward to appearing before Judge Ian Spiteri Bailey to deal with the merits of our case in which we are saying that with her hostility towards us and with the conflicts of interest she has, Nadine Lia can never give us a proper hearing.”

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 thanked lawyer Jason Azzopardi for his assistance on the case.


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6 days ago

We can only hope that common sense and reason prevail and that the games played by the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General to prevent justice being served are exposed for what they seemingly are.

Attempts to pervert the course of justice.

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