Judicial watchdog reminds the judiciary not to speak to the Prime Minister

No meeting yet on new magistrate with criminal case


Sitting magistrates have been warned by the judicial watchdog not to make any contact, either formal or informal, with the Prime Minister or any other government members since it is in breach of the code of ethics.

Convened last Wednesday on the initiative of President George Vella, who presides over the Commission for the Administration of Justice, commission members were asked to discuss and decide on what steps to take over Prime Minister Robert Abela publicly revealing a discussion he had with a sitting female magistrate.

In an unprecedented gaffe, Abela used the contents of the private conversation during a political event to pressure the judiciary over their rulings. Himself under increasing pressure for growing levels of criminality, Abela called on the judiciary to mete out harsher punishments for certain crimes.

He said that a female magistrate had complained to him in private that although they do give out harsh punishments, judges in the superior courts are reducing those sentences on appeal.

Although the name of the magistrate was not revealed, it is being said in court corridors that the magistrate concerned is a senior one who was appointed by Labour and who has shown interest in being promoted to Judge.

After hours of discussions, the Commission for the Administration of Justice chose to send a letter to magistrates reminding them of their obligation not to speak to anyone about their work.

The Commission did not decide to raise the issue with the Prime Minister himself.

Vella has not yet called a meeting on Kevan Azzopardi

The President has meanwhile not yet convened the Commission to discuss the Judicial Appointments Committee’s selection of a new magistrate who was later discovered to be facing an ongoing criminal case.

The Shift revealed last week that the Office of the President had been forced to postpone the oath of office for four new magistrates when it was discovered that one of those selected, Kevan Azzopardi, was facing criminal proceedings in the Ivory Coast in connection with his former role at the Malta Business Registry as an Official Receiver.

It is not known whether Azzopardi hid the fact in the declaration he gave the Judicial Appointments Committee, although it is being posited that it would have been a graver mistake if the selection had nevertheless been made after the issue came up.

Kevan Azzopardi.

The Judicial Appointments Committee is chaired by Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti and includes two other judges, a magistrate, the Ombudsman and the President of the Chamber of Advocates.

According to their remit, apart from interviewing candidates, they are supposed to perform due diligence, including “requesting information from any public authority as it considers to be reasonably required”.

Azzopardi’s case was mentioned in a court declaration by a sitting judge last year but somehow went unnoticed by the Judicial Appointments Committee.

This led to the President about to appoint Azzopardi as a magistrate when he was still facing criminal court proceedings in the Ivory Coast and personal responsibility for some €750,000 in damages being claimed by a company there.

Azzopardi, a former police officer, was sponsored to follow the law course while still a member of the Force, which he left soon after he graduated.


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1 month ago

Abela is loosing his brains and what he was supposed to have been thought to him in his lessons to become a lawyer.
But , what he learned was that there is more money protecting criminals than protecting the nation from criminals.
Ethics to the dogs , Money Walks, Bullshit talks.

Philip Micallef
Philip Micallef
1 month ago

Are we not doing things in reverse? Instead of reminding all sitting magistrates would it not have been more effective for prime minister to be given a warning?

1 month ago

Il-President Vella li fuq il-pedana tax-xhieda ma riedx jiżvela x’kien qallu jew ma qallux kriminal dwar delitt faħxi f’pajjiżna, bl-iskuża tas-sigriet professjonali, issa jrid jerġa’ joħroġ ta’ ħmar… u bħala President tar-Repubblika qed jinsa jwiddeb lill-Prim Ministru u lill-Kabinett fqir tiegħu li qed jiksru l-kodiċi tal-etika meta f’demokrazija tal-banana jitkellmu ma’ Ġudikant.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mark

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