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Delia proposes justice reforms, 'no objection to declaring assets as soon as possible'

New court sites, reforming Police Corps and other justice reforms were all proposed by Delia, who continued to dodge questions on Busuttil's future in the party.

matthew_agius
Matthew Agius
16 August 2017, 5:06pm
Last updated on 16 August 2017, 5:10pm
Delia addressed the press in front of the courts Wednesday afternoon
Delia addressed the press in front of the courts Wednesday afternoon
PN Leadership contender, lawyer Adrian Delia has announced a number of proposals aimed at improving the administration of justice.

Speaking outside the law courts in Valletta this afternoon, Delia proposed the inclusion of expressions of interest in those angling for a appointment to the Bench, which would then be screened and evaluated by an adjudicating board.

The courts themselves could be moved or augmented by alternative sites, which were not necessarily in Valletta, he said. The courts' autonomy was suffering because they fell under the budgetary remit of the ministry, said Delia. He did not expand on how he would be tackling this issue, however.

“The time has come to have specialised courts, not just specialised lawyers,” said the leadership hopeful, pointing to Family Court and the now defunct Commercial Courts.

It was also becoming impossible for judges in Family Court to deal with their massive caseload, he said, advocating more investment and the appointment of more judges in order to deliver justice in a reasonable time.

The legal aid system was not strong enough, he said. “Money shouldn't be an obstacle for access to justice. Whoever doesn't have enough to obtain justice, must be helped.”

Another proposal was the updating of the Bonello report on justice reform.  No specific areas of the Bonello report were highlighted during the presentation of proposals.

The current budget allocation to the police force translated to just €9 per police officer, Delia said. “We can't have a modern force with this meagre investment.” He proposed a capital injection to resolve the problem with arrears in the payment of overtime owed to police officers.

Delia promised to reform the Police Corp and the office of the Attorney General and strenghthen their Constitutional protection, as well as providing remedies should they fail to do their job property. “I think the time has come for the Opposition to make specific proposals on this issue.”

Taking questions from journalists after the press conference, Delia avoided taking a position on whether or not Simon Busuttil should resign as a backbencher, saying he couldn't dictate to the outgoing leader of the Opposition from his position.

Delia also said that he will be speaking to “two or three” audit firms to audit his assets, but his efforts were being delayed by the fact that it is summer. He was in favour of enhanced due diligence on prospective politicians, he said. The party statute did not oblige him to publish his declaration of assets before proposing his candidature. “My understanding was that this happens after election but I have no objection to doing so now.”

He is in the process of disposing of his business interests, properties and shares, he said. “I have have no surprises or hidden assets or bank accounts overseas.”

matthew_agius
Court reporter Matthew Agius is a Legal Procurator and Commissioner for Oaths. Prior to re...