Repubblika denounces ‘unjust tactics to delay justice’

Repubblika files reply to State Advocate’s appeal against a judge’s decision to allow challenge proceedings it had filed to continue before another magistrate

Repubblika President Robert Aquilina (Credit: James Bianchi/mediatoday)
Repubblika President Robert Aquilina (Credit: James Bianchi/mediatoday)

Rule of Law NGO Repubblika has filed a reply to the State Advocate’s appeal against a judge’s decision to allow challenge proceedings it had filed to continue before another magistrate.

Repubblika expressed dismay at the State Advocate’s failure to also insist that the challenge proceedings, which Repubblika had filed over the failure to prosecute individuals named by the magisterial inquiry into Pilatus Bank, are concluded without delay.

In a Facebook post published earlier today, Repubblika president Robert Aquilina said he had only been notified this morning about an appeal filed six days ago, just hours before the expiry of the deadline to file a reply.

The application in question, an appeal to the Constitutional Court in Repubblika’s case against the Commissioner of Police and the State Advocate, was filed in court on November 10, but Aquilina said that court messengers had only served him with a copy of it at 6:25am today.

The president of Repubblika, an NGO campaigning on issues relating to the protection of democracy and against corruption in Malta, has denounced what he described as “unjust tactics intended to create obstacles in the path of justice.”

The Commissioner of Police and State Advocate had filed an appeal to the Constitutional court, arguing that Mr. Justice Ian Spiteri Bailey should not have ordered the transfer of the challenge proceedings as an interim measure, but should have awaited the outcome of the Constitutional case.

The delay in notifying Repubblika meant that their lawyer, Jason Azzopardi, only had a few hours to draft and file their reply, he said.

The reply was filed nonetheless, with 15 minutes to spare.

The 16-page document gives a detailed account of the events that had led up to this point, accusing magistrate Nadine Lia of outright lying to the First Hall of the Civil Court in its Constitutional Jurisdiction - something which the superior court had effectively noted, albeit couched in more diplomatic language. The application goes on to state that neither was it the first time that Lia had lied about the organisation in court.

“It is a source of true sorrow that the State is refusing to understand the importance of the challenge proceedings over major crimes filed by Repubblika starts being heard, continues and is decided as quickly as possible. Challenge proceedings are by their nature, serious and urgent,” said the lawyer, pointing out that over four months had been wasted already and the case had not yet started.

Repubblika questioned the disproportionately large effort to prevent the challenge proceedings from being wrested out of Lia’s hands, asking why the State Advocate was not joining it in its demand that the challenge proceedings begin and are concluded without delay, “so that everyone will know whether Repubblika is telling the truth, that six corrupt criminals, corrupt money launderers, were not arraigned in Court to avoid publicly revealing the corruption led by Castille during the time Pilatus Bank was operating.”

It pointed out that all this had already been ordered by the inquiring magistrate, after an inquiry that cost the taxpayer €10.5 million.

“What better proof is required for Repubblika to show why the first court’s decision to grant the interim order was opportune, just, essential, providential, legal and inevitable?”

“Since when has the State Advocate started ignoring this behaviour, deserving of all contempt and condemnation, by a member of the judiciary which betrays partiality, animosity and a breach of the Code of Ethics for the Judiciary?” the application reads.

Repubblika noted that instead, the State Advocate had filed the 10 November appeal, asking the court to suspend the interim measure granted by judge Spiteri Bailey, until the final outcome of the constitutional proceedings. “Now the State, because these delays were not enough, wants that this honourable court become an accomplice with him and block justice by allowing the delays desired by the State to remain.”