PM says not enough done to prevent femicide, court delays ‘unacceptable’

Prime Minister Robert Abela reacts to the femicide of Bernice Cassar

File photo
File photo

The femicide of Bernice Cassar on Tuesday means that not enough work has been done to address gender-based violence, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Wednesday.

Fielding comments from journalists, Abela said that the court delays in domestic violence cases is unacceptable, referring to Cassar’s own case which was set to be heard in November 2023.

“For me, it is unacceptable to have a case appointed a year and a half later,” Abela said.

Abela opened up about feeling angry and scared over the murder, being the father of a 10-year-old girl. 

"Despite strengthening the institutions, even if there's at least one death like this, then you haven't done enough," he stated.

He pointed out than an open call is underway to appoint two new magistrates to the judiciary bench, one of which will be assigned to hearing cases of domestic violence cases.

There is only one magistrate in Malta hearing thousands of domestic violence cases. This has led to a severe backlog in cases, with some hearings having to be postponed by years.

Abela added that a ministerial inquiry has been opened to identify what went wrong in Bernice Cassar’s case.

He explained that the inquiry will focus on identifying deficiencies and whether the case could have been avoided.