PN wants Abela to apologise for comments on the judiciary

PN spokesperson Karol Aquilina says Prime Minister’s reference to communication he had with a magistrate is unacceptable

PN justice spokesperson Karol Aquilina
PN justice spokesperson Karol Aquilina

The Prime Minister should retract his comments on the judiciary and apologise for his “bad behaviour”, Nationalist Party justice spokesperson Karol Aquilina said.

He was reacting to the Prime Minister’s comments on Sunday when Robert Abela recounted what a magistrate told him about leaner sentences meted out by the Appeals Court.

Abela’s reference to an encounter with a magistrate raised eyebrows with ADPD and NGO Repubblika referring the matter to the President, and independent candidate Arnold Cassola asking the Standards Commissioner to investigate the Prime Minister.

The PN has now weighed in on the subject, insisting that Abela’s reference to his communication with a member of the judiciary during a political meeting was “unacceptable”.

“The Prime Minister should retract his comments about the law courts and members of the judiciary and publicly apologise for his bad behaviour and the bad example he has set by making irresponsible and dangerous comments,” Karol Aquilina said.

Members of the judiciary are precluded by their code of ethics to communicate with the executive unless this is approved by the Chief Justice. Any communication must also be official.

“In a democratic society, it is never acceptable that the Prime Minister boasts during a political meeting of having communication with members of the judiciary when he knows that they are obliged not to communicate with anyone about their work,” Aquilina said.

The PN spokesperson also hit out at Justice Minister Jonathan Attard for not censoring the Prime Minister and instead opting to justify the remarks.

“Through their bad, repeated behaviour, Robert Abela and Jonathan Attard are confirming that they have no respect for the independence and autonomy of the judiciary,” Aquilina added, calling for a public apology from the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party accused Aquilina of defending the status quo. “Society has a right to expect protection from all the institutions that are there to protect it and work for it,” the PL said.

It noted that Abela’s legacy on the independence of the judiciary was unparalleled, having relinquished all his power as prime minister to appoint members of the judiciary. “This was the biggest sign of respect towards the independence of the institutions,” the PL said.