Recusal of magistrate in Gozo case

If this judge were to accept Dr Jason Azzopardi’s plea, the question arises: why did she accept to hear and decide a much more “political” case which she decided in favour of the PN?

12 August 2016, 10:44am
Magistrate Joanna Vella Cuschieri
Magistrate Joanna Vella Cuschieri
Dr Jason Azzopardi has placed Ms Justice Lorraine Schembri Orland in a big dilemma. Dr Azzopardi, on behalf of his client, Samuel Azzopardi, formerly and now reinstated Mayor of Victoria, has instituted a case at the Constitutional Court, asking the court to accept his client’s plea, that Magistrate Joanna Vella Cuschieri should not hear and decide the libel case which Samuel Azzopardi had instituted against minister Anton Refalo,  due to the magistrate having been a PL candidate in a general election.

The judge, who has been assigned this constitutional case is Lorraine Schembri Orland, who had been a candidate on the PN’s list in the 1992 general election. If this judge were to accept Dr Jason Azzopardi’s plea, that Magistrate Joanna Vella Cuschieri should not hear the libel case instituted by the PN Mayor of Victoria, the question arises: why did she accept to hear and decide a much more “political” case, namely, that of the two extra parliamentary seats which Schembri Orland has already heard and decided in favour of the PN?

Peter Cole
Sussex, UK