[WATCH] Delia: ‘The election is over and I am the leader of the PN’

'The election is over and now I am the leader of the party. I am here to show that as a lawyer I am willing to defend Simon Busuttil in this case'

Simon Busuttil (L) and Adrian Delia
Simon Busuttil (L) and Adrian Delia
Appeal on Panama Papers investigation to be heard in public

New PN leader Adrian Delia was keen to assert his position as leader of the opposition as he answered questions from reporters outside the law courts.

Parties this morning congregated inside Judge Antonio Mizzi’s courtroom, in an appeal against magistrate Ian Farrugia's decision to launch an inquiry into money laundering allegations involving against OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi.

Konrad Mizzi was as enthusiastic and enigmatic as ever in his comments to reporters as he left the court. “Everything is above board. There is nothing illegal in all this,” he said.

“It is very ironic that this case only deals with claims made by Simon Busuttil. What we know for a fact is that it doesn’t have anything to do with money laundering related to prostitution,” Mizzi said in a jibe aimed at Delia, who is denying accusations in the press of having laundered takings from a number of brothels in Soho.

Lawyer Jason Azzopardi told the waiting gaggle of reporters that the court had upheld Busuttil’s request to have the case open to public scrutiny.

“I made it very clear that there is no doubt on the integrity of the judge, far from it, but we are taught ...that justice must not only be done but also be seen to be done. Not actual bias, but the appearance of bias is enough.”

He pointed out that in his request for the recusal of the judge, he had raised the example of judge Edwina Grima, presiding the criminal court, who refuses to hear cases about hunting because her husband is an active member in BirdLife.

Azzopardi said it was important to maintain Busuttil’s legacy and to uphold it together. At this stage before the court it is important to show that the PN is not going to take any shortcuts, he said.

Joining the rest of the PN team outside court this morning, Delia confirmed that he was joining Simon Busuttil’s legal team.

After a One News reporter asked Simon Busuttil whether or not he believed that Delia held a bank account in Jersey, Delia interjected, saying that it was not a question of belief but of bringing a document from a Jersey bank to prove or disprove the allegation.

“In court, it's the judge who decides, I was not there as a PN leader. I don’t know if you’re suggesting that the courts not be allowed to their work or that the judicial process be carried out by the public and not judges.”

In the context of what was happening in court, he said it was clear that there was an attempt at preventing the court from reaching its own conclusions from its investigations.

“After the institutions blatantly failed to fulfill their duties, and by this I mean the Commissioner of police and the Office of the Attorney General, it is now the court’s turn to do its job after the PN instigated it to do so. And now the PL is doing its best to inhibit justice from being done.”

"Banks hold their records for six years. It can’t be asked to provide documents relating to 20 years ago. That is the issue," Delia said.

“The election is over and now I am the leader of the party. I am here to show that as a lawyer I am willing to defend Simon Busuttil in this case. None of the 20 lawyers there or the judge objected to my presence.”

He said he was "absolutely not uncomfortable" working with Busuttil: “I am comfortable working with everybody, particularly for the Nationalist Party.”