The Malta Independent 19 December 2018, Wednesday

Justice Minister defends removal of online court judgements

Tuesday, 13 March 2018, 20:18 Last update: about 9 months ago

Justice Minister Owen Bonnici has insisted that the removal of some judgements from the online court website did not affect official records.

He was responding to questions in Parliament. Bonnici said that he could not ignore the predicament of people who complained about their names continuing to be found in relation to these judgements through google searches, despite much time having passed, in line with the right to be forgotten.

Questions on the issue were asked by PN MPs Karol Aquilina and Therese Comodini Cachia. Bonnici held that there is a distinction between the official court records and what is uploaded online, stating that the official record remained available to officials.


Last week, Bonnici said he had authorised the Court's Director General to remove online judgements when requested by individuals when he deems fit.

Bonnici said that, in terms of data protection legislation, anyone who processes data has an obligation to the data subject, and he believes that uplading soft copies of court records is data processing.

Therese Comodini Cachia however, said that the data protection right the Minister mentioned is nt an absolute right, and that the whole point of the online database was for information to be made available to the public.

Bonnici said he is open to suggestions as to how to strengthen existing court processes. He said that he knows of people who had difficulties due to past judgements showing up when their name was googled, despite having a clean police conduct sheet.

The situation last week also saw a judgement of a law student removed, and PN MP Jason Azzopardi said that such a situation could potentially lead to a person being appointed to the bench, when that person would have falsified documents in the past.



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