The Malta Independent 26 June 2019, Wednesday

Justice and criminal investigations

Alfred Sant Monday, 10 December 2018, 07:44 Last update: about 8 months ago

I fail to understand how any government can be placed under some political imperative that requires it as of now, to “discover” who committed a criminal act.

It is obvious that government has the duty to ensure that all necessary resources are deployed to find who the culprit/s is/are. Were this not to happen it would be a total scandal.

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If however  in such a context, one were to proclaim that justice has not been done because the guilty party is still free, that would be going way too far from what is reasonable.

A criminal investigation cannot be evaluated according to political criteria regarding what needs to be discovered or not. Such an investigation has to run its course and overcome difficulties that arise according to the circumstances which define the criminal act that has been committed.

To claim that a government must discover who committed what and establish this as a benchmark to measure whether justice is being respected in a given country, and by how much, qualifies in most cases as nothing better than a gimmick. Which is what some people have been trying to do regarding the criminal investigations that are currently proceeding with regard to the assassination of Mrs Caruana Galizia.  

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Constitution

A lot of needlessly derogatory statements were made recently about the Constitution. They are totally out of point. The document is one that builds well on Malta’s historical and political features. Additionally, it integrates extremely valid aspects culled from the experience of democracy in Britain. And it provides a number of institutional pegs to which safeguards covering the democratic development of our society could be linked.

It is true that in a number of sectors, observance of the Constitution’s provisions focussed on the letter as contrasted to the spirit of what they were premised on. The total polarisation between the two main political parties is to blame for this.

If the intention really is to amend and improve the Constitution not to senselessly subject it to an exercise of copy, cut and paste, we simply need to reinforce those mechanisms that safeguard transparency in public affairs, social justice and accountability. Doing so will ensure that the principles which the Constitution espouses are being actually honoured.

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Inherited customs

At this time of the year, the fashion in European cities has become the opening of Christmas “markets” or “villages” consisting of a large number of stalls, from where food products and all sorts of souvenirs are peddled. What, above all, gets particular attention is the sale of mulled wine, hot, into which get thrown lemons, honey, spices and I don’t know what else.

The colder it is, the pleasanter it becomes. Whole families, with children in tow, are to be seen sampling the offerings of the different stalls – such an expedition can end up costing quite some money.

The custom of organizing Christmas markets is hardly new but it has flourished in recent years, spreading around central Europe and down across half the Italian peninsula. In Malta it is making inroads.

Complaints have been made that the project is too commercial. One person I met in Strasbourg confided he does not visit any more the wide ranging “villages” that are on display downtown. They have gotten too big. No longer do they remind one of how things used to be in the past. Instead he visits a distant community where the mayor has banned stalls which would sell products that were not on offer seventy years ago in the Christmas market of the village.

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