[WATCH] Government will not appeal Caruana Galizia memorial court ruling

Justice Minister says decision not to appeal Caruana Galizia memorial ruling is an act in favour of ‘national reconciliation’

Government has decided not to appeal a court ruling that found against it on the persistent clearing of the Caruana Galizia makeshift memorial in Valletta
Government has decided not to appeal a court ruling that found against it on the persistent clearing of the Caruana Galizia makeshift memorial in Valletta
PM says government will not appeal court's decision over clearing of Caruana Galizia memorial

The State Advocate will not appeal a constitutional court ruling that lambasted the government over its persistent clearing of the makeshift memorial to Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The decision was taken this morning by Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis in consultation with Prime Minister Robert Abela and State Advocate Victoria Buttigieg.

In comments to the media after visiting the Chamber of SMEs on Thursday afternoon, Abela said he did not need the court’s ruling to take a decision to stop the clearing of flowers and candles but acted on the matter soon after becoming prime minister.

Abela insisted the government will respect the ruling and saw no reason why former justice minister Owen Bonnici, who gave the order to clear the monument, should resign.

On Thursday, Judge Joseph Zammit Mckeon ruled in favour of activist Manuel Delia in a case against former justice minister Owen Bonnici and the director general of cleansing, Ramon Deguara.

READ ALSO: Manuel Delia wins case against government over clearing of Caruana Galizia memorial

The case revolved around the persistent clearing of flowers, candles and photos that are placed at the foot of the Great Siege monument in Valletta in memory of slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. The court’s decision reserved harsh words for the government’s behaviour to clear out the makeshift memorial every night, an order given by the former justice minister.

In his ruling, the judge also recommended that activists act responsibly and with respect to the monument. 

Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis
Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis

Contacted by MaltaToday, Zammit Lewis said the government respects the court’s decision.

“The court decision shows that the rule of law in this country does work in practice because here we had an independent court that ruled against the government,” he said.

He added that although the government had every right to appeal, it felt that in the current social and political circumstances this was not appropriate.

“The decision not to appeal is also consistent with the direction government has taken under Prime Minister Robert Abela, who, before the court even pronounced itself, had already decided to stop the clearing of the memorial,” Zammit Lewis said.

Asked why the change of heart, Zammit Lewis said the decision not to appeal was a step in favour of national unity. “I am convinced this is a step towards national reconciliation, which is needed for stability to return,” he said.

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