“This week I had the opportunity to speak with a magistrate who told me (“qaltli”) it’s true the current legal framework allows us to give lenient or harsh sentences for certain crimes…. But when we give harsh sentences… these are appealed.. and the appeals court will reduce the sentence”.
This was Prime Minister Robert Abela bragging that he’d had a discussion with a female magistrate on matters related to her duties.
Is Prime Minister Robert Abela just plain stupid? Or just reckless?
This is the Prime Minister of a European State which purports to be a democratic republic built on the separation of powers. Instead, Abela, who heads the executive and is part of the legislature, publicly declares he had a private conversation with a member of the judiciary about sentencing.
Does Abela not understand what the separation of powers is?
As early as 1748 Montesquieu wrote in his book ‘The Spirit of Laws’: “When the legislative and executive persons are invested in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty – there is no liberty if the powers of judging are not separated from the legislative and executive – there would be an end to everything”.
But does Abela care? No.
Neither, it seems, does he care about getting the magistrate into trouble. Clause 26 of the Code of Ethics for the Judiciary is pretty explicit about contact with members of the Executive: “Although it may be useful and proper to maintain a dialogue between the Bench and the organs of state, members of the Judiciary shall not however communicate in private with members of the Executive on any matter connected with their duties or functions except through or after express consultation with the Senior Magistrate and/or Chief Justice”.
That Code of Ethics is binding for the purpose of Act 101A(11) (d) of the Constitution of Malta. A Judge or Magistrate found to have breached that Code could either receive a warning, a fine, a suspension for six months on half pay or may be recommended for removal from the Bench, depending on the gravity of the breach.
The problem is that according to the amended Act 101B (5) disciplinary proceedings against a judge or magistrate can only commence upon receipt of a complaint from the Chief Justice or the Justice Minister.
And Jonathan Attard is unlikely to report the magistrate who’s confided in Robert Abela to the Commission.
What’s even worse is that the Ministerial Code of Ethics is completely silent on communication between members of the Executive and the Judiciary. But the code of ethics is silent on many things, simply because they are so obviously inappropriate and unethical that they don’t require being stated.
Anybody with a basic knowledge of the principles of democracy understands the fundamental importance of the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary. Surely Robert Abela, a lawyer, knows that well. But that has never stopped him interfering with the work of the Judiciary.
It was Abela who threatened the Caruana Galizia inquiry with cutting it short. It was Abela who publicly intimidated and harassed the magistrate who ordered the search at Joseph Muscat’s residence. And now it’s Abela discussing sentencing with a magistrate and shamelessly revealing his indiscretions to the public.
As Abela openly trashes the basic principles of our Constitution, the self-declared supreme law of the land, he ironically threatens those “who won’t observe the law” that “they will pay a heavy price”.
In that same Sunday sermon, Robert Abela had the cheek to attack Opposition MPs “who at 9am put on their defence lawyer hat and defend criminals, and at 4pm come to Parliament and want to keep sentencing as it is”.
Abela was defence lawyer for Christian Borg, the alleged money launderer and kidnapper with whom he entered into the “small Zabbar plot” deal worth €45,000. Abela represented the Maksar brothers. Abela was also the lawyer of tal-Qasab mileage scam auto dealer. He wanted an amnesty for those breaching COVID-19 rules.
Abela can’t decide. One minute he wants to pardon everybody and let everyone do as he pleases, the next he’s breathing down the judiciary’s neck to coerce them to issue harsher sentences.
He flagrantly ignores the bald violations of basic decency of his Cabinet – Chris Bonett’s Sicily escapade in his ministerial car, Anton Refalo’s seizure of a Victorian-era artifact, Ian Borg’s condemnation by the courts for his unbelievable statement, the fake Gozo Ministry job for Clayton Bartolo’s girlfriend.
He can’t even stick to the basic rules that should apply to him. In his declaration of assets he couldn’t even bring himself to declare the thousands of euros he made from renting his dilapidated Zejtun property to absent Russian prospective passport buyers. The previous year he didn’t even bother to state his income. His luxury yacht never features in his declaration.
Robert Abela cannot be taken seriously.
Why is he suddenly so keen on justice when his government keeps procuring concrete from his friend Joseph Portelli’s illegal batching plant? Why is he so fussy about the law after he allowed Clint Camilleri’s canvasser and MEP Josianne Cutajar’s brother to cover Comino in deckchairs?
Why does he want to enforce the law when his government has allowed so many to break it without any repercussions? Why is he suddenly so aware of crime after he hid the inquiry report on Carmen Pace’s death for months?
Robert Abela who’s made it so much easier to use drugs is now appalled that drugs caused the death of a young Turkish woman.
Abela knows he shouldn’t be discussing sentencing with a magistrate. Yet he’s not just done it, he’s bragged to the nation that he’s done it.
Abela believes rules don’t apply to him – and he’s right. They don’t. He can do as he pleases, he can break every rule. Nothing can touch him. He knows it and he’s making sure we all know it too.
“Nothing can touch him”
The single word to be used is ‘Untouchable’ which comes from the Mafia that is being exercised in Malta.
PM Abela, in his first given interview to the Times of Malta, some couple of months agol, stated himself that he doesn’t like to compare himself with others, his predecessor Joseph Muscat in particular. There have been various topics that were part of the interview and he’s been very kind to the interviewer on all topics, but always with the partisan line prevailing in his answers. This left some impression on my mind and in particular the fact that he doesn’t like to compare.
But others, myself included, do compare PM Abela not just with his predecessor, but beyond Malta too. Past and present and one can draw similarities in comparing, see the differences between characters and the ways of their conduct, but also taking into account the way they see themselves in context with what is expected from them by their voters, party members and other sympathisers or followers.
I always had the impression, and on some occasions in conversing with PLers, there is still the expectation on their part that a leader always means to be ‘the strong man’ which translates to me into ‘being authoritarian’. Otherwise they regard that person as too weak and not of leadership material. In my view, this is still an attitude that stems from the Mintoff era and prevails to this day with them. That is what they expect from PM Abela and he’s somehow appearing like being in a fix between pleasing his party members and voters and reacting on incidents that demand a decisive and consequent action by the state authorities. In my opinion, this hither and thither makes him appear to be ‘not settled’ (yet) in his role as PM. Always giving the impression that in fact, it isn’t himself who is head of the govt, but Joseph Muscat pulling the strings from behind.
Sadly, in regards of the quotes in this article regarding the separation of powers in a democracy, populism and those who support and cheer it (lots of them among the PLers), take it either as ‘a minor issue’ or comply with the undermining of this principle in order to have the strong leader. As long as they are on the ‘right receiving end’, they can live with it because they are not concerned as they don’t bother about such things.
Wherever in the EU there emerged or consolidated a government, put in place by voters who are fond of populist, whether they are of the political right or left, the whole population had to witness a decline in standards of the separation of powers. One can compare Malta in such regards with Poland (the PiS party a right-wing one), Hungary with Victor Orban (with the Fides party also a right-wing one) and recently the new govt in Italy with Ms Meloni. What goes for Poland and Hungary, there are similarities in style of governing, in regards of the separation of power, in regards of ‘handling’ judges who defend the constitution and work accordingly, in regards of journalists who report about the abuse of power, as they see it and as they have stories brought to their attention by first hand witnesses or affected.
What concerns Italy, Ms Meloni is still cautious in switching over to a hard ruling, and one knows that governments in Italy don’t last that long, often break up after a couple of years. What all the populists have in common, as by the three mentioned other countries these are all right-wing parties, is a distinct either openly anti-EU attitude or they disguise it as being ‘EU-critical’. In fact, they all seek to take the advantages from their country’s EU membership and try to circumvent the EU principles which are founded on the principles of the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary.
In Malta, the situation is the reverse to the other three right-wing parties because the PL is supposed or classyfied as being a left-wing party (not that I would regard it as such). But the PL is as much populistic like the others and from all the PLers I have encountered, there was hardly a single one I would recall as not either being openly and aggressively anti-EU or indifferent. The nationalism displayed by them which is aking to the Trumpist slogan machtes to the old Mintoff slogan ‘Malta first and foremost’. That leaves no place for anything else. The anti-EU stance lives on and this is manifestated by the way the PL is trying to handle Malta’s EU membership which hardly anybody of them wanted, but when it comes to money, it’s all ok with them.
I think that one should take PM Abela seriously because he is in the position of power and whether one believes it or not, Joseph Muscat is far from ‘out of politics’ and the admiration he still enjoys from within the PL is not fading away. His influence on the party lives on because there are no major alterations in regards of this party’s conduct when it comes to the Daphne Caruana Galizia case. The govt makes concessions and shows action when either put on pressure from the outside or crimes occure which shake up the whole nation. One has to show the strong leadership in such moments. Once the noise and outrage has settled, back to business as usual.
It would be very daring at this stage to state whether Malta is heading into a similar direction like Poland and Hungary, but the populism that comes from the PL and the receptiveness of those who are with that party, gives some food for thoughts that it could well be. Maybe it is just a matter of time, fact is to me, the landslide victory in the 2022 GE have encouraged the PL to think that they can do as they please and not being accountable to the nation because no matter what they do, they got their landslide victory and that is considered as being more than just the approval of the past term in govt but with an increase of voters, more than a confirmation to them to feel even stronger.
In regards of Poland and Hungary, the EU imposed sanctions on these coutries for stepping out of line in regards of the EU principles, separation of power, free speech and a free media as well as the independence of the judiciary. Now with the war in Ukraine, Poland is forced to reign itself in at least a bit, but the PiS is still reluctant, the fear of a Russian attack breathing down their neck. In Hungary, the same but Orban is still maintaining his good relationship with Putin, because his country depends very much on energy supplies from Russia and like all the populists, he has to show his followers to still being the strong man, putting Hungary’s national interests first, as far as this is still possible and not always staying in line with the EU sanctions on Russia.
Just theoretically, if Malta with this PL govt is to heading down the same or similar path like the other mentioned countries, Malta sets itself into conflict with the EU and if the EU responds on that with sanctions because the PL govt would not budge and get back in line with upholding the separation of powers, it would merely increase the anti-EU sentiments or say ‘befire’ them, for they are always there among the PLers.
I have seen reports about Hungary, a documentary in particular where ‘former’ journalists from Hungary were interviewed who had to leave their country because the Orban regime made it impossible for them to work in their profession. The similarities to Malta were there, though not as harsh as in Hungary, but it is always the same, populists don’t like free journalists and by that I mean not just the free lance ones, also those who work for a media outlet that has no partisan links.
Going with all that and with a bigger picture that includes the comparisons made, to have Ms Metsola as President of the European Commission in the aftermath of the 2024 EP election, would have at least the prospect that the PL couldn’t proceed with their ‘do as we please’ attitude because this would put Malta in conflict with the EC and I consider Ms Metsola as the person that wouldn’t let the PL get away with it. It would have the potential of conflict which put even more pressure on the PL govt because with her, the EC would have a President that knows exactly what is going on in Malta and how to respond to the PL in a way and language nobody else from another EU member state can.
With the war in Ukraine, Malta is not in the focus of the EU these days, but with Ms Metsola as President of the EP, Malta is also not forgotten.
Is Prime Minister Robert Abela just plain stupid? Or just reckless?
NO. but he happens to be the consultant of the MOST CORRUPT pm MALTA EVER HAD.
He’s certainly not of stellar intelligence.And he is surrounded by upstarts!
Body building effects the brain?
“Is Prime Minister Robert Abela just plain stupid? Or just reckless?”
Well, according to numerous sources, while still studying at the University, Abela’s nickname was: ‘It-Tuba’. Enough said.
There is no more distinction of what is right or wrong, and this non distinction is being felt eveywhere, as it is now being engrained in our DNA, to mean more chaos.
Hopefully we can get rid of this useless, arrogant twat, at the next GE.