PN casts doubt on role of former judge in Sheehan inquiry

Opposition says retired judge Philip Sciberras is appointed on several government boards

The Nationalist Party has denied claims by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat that Opposition leader had attacked members of the judiciary in a denigration of a government inquiry into the Sheehan shooting.

The PN said Muscat had launched an “undignified attack” that ignored the political criticism raised by Busuttil by accusing him of having criticised the retired judges leading the inquiry.

“The prime minister is hiding behind retired judges who don’t have any guarantee of independence on the work they do: Philip Sciberras is practicing once again in court, apart from being a government-appointed member on several boards. How can the prime minister be credible about this board’s independence?”

The board is being led by retired judge Alberto Magri to investigate whether a cover-up took place when the details of the Sheehan shooting were being conveyed to the press.

“If there’s someone who undermined the judiciary’s independence it’s Muscat,” the PN said in a reference to the expired impeachment proceedings against judge Lino Farrugia Sacco.

On its part, the government is insisting that Busuttil’s is an “unprecedented attack” against the judiciary in a bid to “get rid of home affairs minister Manuel Mallia without allowing the facts to emerge from the inquiry.”

The government said Busuttil was only interested in seeking the minister’s head, and that he was applying double standards over his shadow minister George Pullicino when it comes to the former minister’s involvement in a multi-million solar energy tender awarded to a private company that was recently terminated by the government.

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