na
27°C
19°C
19°C
01 October 2014

Wenzu Mintofftried to kick mefrom the witnessstand – lawyer

 - Friday, 18 July 2014, 08:00

by Jacob Borg

The newly-appointed judge and former Labour MP Wenzu Mintoff once tried to kick lawyer Joseph Zammit Maempel during a court hearing.

Dr Mintoff, then a lawyer, was testifying from the witness stand when he suddenly lashed out at Dr Zammit Maempel, much to everyone’s horror in the courtroom.

Dr Zammit Maempel confirmed the incident to The Malta Independent. He said he will not accept any of his cases to be heard by Mr Justice Mintoff.

During the swearing in ceremony yesterday, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat hailed Judge Mintoff’s “unquestionable” integrity.

During his swearing in yesterday, Mr Justice Mintoff said that independence and impartiality will be his credo, adding that each and every case brought before him is not merely a number but represents individuals and their hardships.

He promised to respect his vocation to God as a judge, and expressed his gratitude towards his family who always supported him throughout his career

Dr Reuben Balzan


Chamber of Advocates considering its position

A number of lawyers contacted by this newsroom said they are aghast at the appointment, but do not wish to speak out individually for fear of prejudicing future cases appearing in front of Judge Mintoff.

Asked for a comment yesterday, Chamber of Advocates President Reuben Balzan said that an internal discussion is currently underway and a position on the appointment is being formulated.

Judge Emeritus Giovanni Bonello


Judge Emeritus Giovanni Bonello, who last year was appointed head of the Justice Reform Commission, declined to comment on individual appointments.

“The Commission for the Reform of the Administration of Justice has made some quite specific recommendations on the minimum requirements to ensure that persons appointed to the judiciary respect the basic standards of independence, impartiality, integrity and efficiency,” Dr Bonello said.

In an interview with the Malta Independent earlier this year, Dr Bonello said that Prime Ministers  should no longer be king-maker when it comes to appointing judges and magistrates.

Fellow Justice Reform Commission member Ramona Frendo said that she was unaware of Judge Mintoff’s appointment as she is currently abroad.

Justice Minister Owen Bonnici


Judge Mintoff will rise above his political past - PM

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that he understood that there had been criticism for the appointment but was sure that like others before him, Dr Mintoff will rise above his political past and treat the cases he is assigned with integrity.

Justice Minister Owen Bonnici added that the required procedures for appointment of a judge were taken, Dr Mintoff has all the prerequisites required and the Commission of Administration of Justice was consulted.

Labour MP Charles Mangion defended the appointment of Mr Justice Mintoff.

Speaking in Parliament, Dr Mangion congratulated Dr Mintoff for his accession to the Bench.

The media has already attacked him, he said, and even though they have the right to criticise, observations should be made on his work and not on his political opinions.

“God forbid if you have an opinion which stops you gaining such a position,” he said.

Biography

Mr Justice Mintoff was president of the Labour Party but left the party in 1989 to form Alternattiva Demokratika, only to later rejoin the Labour fold.

He was until recently editor of the Labour Party weekly Kullhadd, and has a number of pending libel cases before the Courts. Recently he served as a senior legal officer in the commercial and foreign investment field.

The DOI biograpjhy nsent with his appointment does not make a mention of his past links with the Labour Party.

19 comments

Post Comment
Michael Walter says:
18 July 2014 23:54

I am sure Wenzu Mintoff will fit in very well with a good number of the judiciary.

Post Reply

Giovann DeMartino says:
18 July 2014 18:36

Haqq il-mument li fettilli nivvota labour!  Kont hsibt li Joseph Muscat MHUX se jaghmel l-oxxenitajiet li kienu jsiru fi zmien il-PN.  Baqa' kollox kif kien.  Tghid insibu lil xi hadd jibghat lil Eddy Privitera ghand S Rita  bhalma kienu ghamlu  tat-Tarka meta t-Tirann kecciehom mill-Casino?

Post Reply

Evarist Saliba says:
18 July 2014 16:39

Dr W. Mintoff's past is known, even though the official press release conveniently omitted elements that are now causing wide concern. It is now up to him to show through his performance that he does have the qualities required of a learned, impartial and honest judge. I also hope that he will voluntarily excuse himself from being a judge in cases involving persons against whom he has publicly spoken against, at least until his reputation as a fair judge is established.

A judge who was an active MLP supporter was Judge Joseph Flores. He was a gentleman in his relations with persons with whom he did not agree.

Post Reply

Eddy Priviteera says:
18 July 2014 16:01

Will all the above PN commenters please check about those who were PN candidadtes or PN ministers and who were appointed as magistrates or judges before commenting !

Post Reply

Joseph Cauchi Senior says:
18 July 2014 15:01

Who said that we live in a democracy?

Is this Democracy or 'Legalised 5 year Dictatorship'?

JC.

Post Reply

Andrew Camilleri says:
18 July 2014 14:37

JJ, funny but I had the exactly the same thought of Eddie Fenech Adami when time after time he appointed PN friends and colleagues to the Bench.

Post Reply

Andy Bryant says:
18 July 2014 14:16

Very convenient to bring up this story at this time, years if not decades after it allegedly occurred, when the other party as a judge now cannot defend himself.

Post Reply

Joseph Chetcuti says:
18 July 2014 14:02

What about those whose sympathies are with the PN and the Church. Should we require them to resign?

Post Reply

Joseph Chetcuti says:
18 July 2014 13:59

In Australia, lawyers are not allowed to pick out which judge is to hear their cases unless there serious grounds exist. If Nationalist Party lawyers want to seek havoc, then it is about time to have legislation passed to have their warrants to practice law withdrawn.

Post Reply

Joe Martinelli says:
18 July 2014 13:31

If many lawyers object to their cases being tried by Judge Mintoff, then his workload will be so light that had he been paid by the case, he would end up in the poorhouse!
Conversely, since he is on salary, not commission, then compared to other judges' workloads he will receive twice (or more) per case.
But, fear not. Judge Wenzu has vowed to be 'independent and impartial' even if his past actions and vindictive language in Labour's papers prove his inability to be so!
If ever the Minister faces charges regarding a certain traffic accident, it will be safe to assume that it will be Mintoff's pleasure to hear the case!
But, why waste the time? One can bet the life savings on the obvious outcome.

Post Reply

Andrew Camilleri says:
18 July 2014 14:34

The usual nonsense from a our Canadian friend. Lawyers cannot simply transfer thier case from one judge to another - they need to raise a legally valid objection. So Joey, lets respect the law for a start instead of concocting silly stories pf what will happen. As for receiving twice his salary,all judges receive the same salary. But you may remember that under GonziPN one judge refused to hear cases and was paid his full salary for over seven years. And finally, let me remind Joey that many many judges and magistrates were appointed from the Pn parliamentary becnhes or had close connections with the PN. But all of them rose to the occasion - so why sow doubts on this Judge? Oh yes, because he was appointed by a Labour government. And what has been done by the PN in the past 80 years cannot be done by the LP.

Post Reply

Francis Sammut says:
18 July 2014 13:04

But the most laughable of all is Dr. Mangion's comments in Parliament!

Post Reply

Antoine Vella says:
18 July 2014 12:21

What Dr Zammit Maempel is saying is that he does not trust Wenzu Mintoff and I associate myself with this. We should all associate ourselves with Dr Zammit Maempel's words.

The PN should make it clear that it too will not accept any of its cases to be heard by Wenzu Mintoff.


Post Reply

Andrew Camilleri says:
18 July 2014 14:36

As usual, the Pn thinks that the law can be bent at the will and pleasure of the PN. I hope the Pn respects the law and will have legally valid reasons to object. But I assume from Antoine's comment that the Pn thinks it can whatever it likes in the courts. Antoine, did you eve object to the judges appointed by the PN from amongst its ranks?

Post Reply

A.M. Galea says:
18 July 2014 10:50

Mr. Brown, I my humble opinion, the fact that Dr. Lawrence Mintoff was appointed Judge will not make the libel cases against him null.  For example, take the libel case that Dr. Alfred Sant filed against Dr. Eddie Fenech Adami when Dr. Fenech Adami said that Dr. Sant was responsible for the refusal of Dr. Fenech Adami's son to enter University,  pior the 2004 election.  After Dr Eddie Fenech Adami became the President of Malta, was the libel declared null? Of course it wasn't. The case continued and Dr. Fenech Adami was found guilty and fined if I remember correctly LM 2,000 or LM 3,000.   And that's the way it should be because  no one is above the Law whether President, Prime Minister, Judge, Magistrate or a common citizen.

Post Reply

Peter Gauci says:
18 July 2014 14:18

Unbelievable how naive you can be.

Post Reply

Charlie Brown says:
18 July 2014 09:19

A prior comment I made is that I had nothing against him. Because if he is not made judge some other elite of the PN or LP will get the job.

However I did not know he had pending cases against him. Therefore how can he be appointed as judge? Does that mean all cases against him will be made null?

This island is stressful. I am used to the British system where laws small and not are observed and not with everyone deciding what is applicable or not. This culture is dangerous as in fact no laws exist.

Post Reply

JJ Micallef says:
18 July 2014 08:24

This is another strategic decision by the apparently docile but extremely dangerous Owen Bonnici. His political ambitions are a priority over decency.

He is a split image of his mentor, KMB.

Post Reply

John Vassallo says:
18 July 2014 08:16

It is said that our Dear Leader said: He will rise above his political past; and I say: The easiest person one can deceive is himself!

Post Reply

Post Comment