The Malta Independent 24 June 2019, Monday

Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue!

Michael Asciak Sunday, 13 January 2019, 09:32 Last update: about 6 months ago

This quote from Deuteronomy outlines what we should all be seeking in a society inspired by a human rational approach to equity and democracy not to say anything of Christianity. I was abroad when the current domestic issues caught up with the democratically elected Leader of the Opposition Dr Adrian Delia. This was followed by some video appearing on social media portraying a family argument. Reports in the media are saying that this issue should be tackled by the Party's Executive and/or Administrative Committees.

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I am a member of the PN's Executive and I am going to share with you what I think about this whole situation. Our democratic society has evolved certain principles for the praxis of execution for just cause and one of the principles to be strictly followed in our society is that no one should be condemned without due process of law.

We cannot condemn people simply on hearsay or allegations, no matter how serious such allegations may be. One has to consider vested interests and conflicts of interest that certain individuals may have and may be hidden, to say nothing of the hidden hand of the government. When Brett Kavanaugh was recently nominated to the US Supreme Court, all sorts of allegations started to fly at him from the Party in Opposition, especially since it was well known that he was a pro-life candidate and espoused pro-life points of view - not a very popular position by most Liberal Democratic politicians.

He faced sudden allegations of a seriously sexual nature where he was accused of raping someone who, however, when called to testify did not remember ever seeing his face or could not remember the exact events of these so called 'rape crimes'. They were allegations that Kavanaugh vehemently denied. To cut a long story short, these allegations were never proven during his hearing in the Capitol and Kavanaugh went on to be sworn in as a Justice of the US Supreme Court!

This is an essential point of our democracy and a point that we can never sacrifice if we want to remain a humane and democratic society, otherwise we give reason to KMB's past call for the 'Justice of the street people' (Qrati tal-Poplu). To cut a long story short, I will never pass judgement on someone unless he has been found at some fault by a  just due process where allegations are proven in a fair manner.

Neither am I going to pass judgement on an individual because he is going though a difficult and rough patch with his wife and family. No family is perfect and family issues should be resolved within the family, even if they themselves feel they ought to defer the issue to court where separation proceeding are hardly ever nice to witness and often one wonders how they were ever married in the first place. Many people in public life pass through these issues and I believe that this alone, unless there is some proven illegal misdemeanour by a court, should never be grounds for a dismissal from political office.

I mean, we have had US Presidents caught with their pants down and going through a separation and keeping their political position! We have had several Maltese and European politicians do this as well. This is something for them to resolve and nobody else's business. It is up to the individual politician himself to see whether he should continue in public office or not when these issues overtake someone or other!

Neither am I going to pass judgement on the videos circulating on social media, some of which are obviously fake and taken during the heat of a family argument - which those of us with families always have and which are never nice events anyway, whether or not they are recorded! After 30 years of marriage, I will go so far as to say that there is something seriously wrong with couples who do not have arguments! We should not be living in a society in which there is trial by social medial who are often ignorant of the circumstances and of the people involved!

I guess that somebody would now ask why there is such intense political pressure on Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri to resign when there has not been a due legal process finalised in court? The answer is simple: the charges levelled at them are not allegations, they are facts. It is a fact that they opened a secret offshore account in Panama three days after the general election. They have openly admitted this and, by itself, this should be a major cause for their resignation when they occupy such high positions in government.

It is a fact that another offshore account, named '17 Black', was set up by, and belongs to, Yorgen Fenech who was one of the beneficiaries winning a tender for the new power station and that this 17 Black set up in Dubai was intended to be a feeder account into the two Panama accounts. It is also a fact that Nexia BT officials were allowed to adjudicate documents relating to the power station tender when they were doing so in a highly compromising manner. It is a fact that Nexia BT officials have been assigned highly important positions in the government apparatus, when common sense asks for the opposite praxis after their involvement in opening the two Panama accounts.

These facts speak for themselves and no judicial process is needed to prove them, as the perpertrators have either admitted to them, or they have been uncovered by foreign or local investigators. There are enough facts here to disqualify all these people from public office.

At the end of the day, one must distinguish facts from allegations and, in a democratic society, allegations must be given a fair length of time to be proven or dismissed in court. Only if this principle is maintained can we say that we live in a true democracy rather than one which carries out witch-hunts with the high risk of burning innocent people at the stake simply due to public opinion.

 

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