The Malta Independent 18 September 2019, Wednesday

Updated - Watch: 'Simon Busuttil is a threat to rule of law' - PL

Tuesday, 29 January 2019, 14:34 Last update: about 9 months ago

 

Former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil is "a threat to rule of law in our country", PL MP Edward Zammit Lewis said in a press conference called by the Labour Party.

The press conference was called after Magistrate Francesco Depasquale rejected an application submitted by Busuttil and PN MEP David Casa for the opening of an inquiry into government minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister's chief of staff Keith Schembri.

PL MP Robert Abela said that the verdict was confirmation that the persistent allegations of Busuttil, Casa and the rest of their 'clique' are mere speculation.  Abela said that today’s decision confirmed that which was taken on 8 January by another magistrate, Giovanni Grixti, which overturned a decision taken by Magistrate Ian Farrugia and ruled that there was to be no inquiry into the key protagonists of the Panama Papers scandal.

Abela said that Busuttil had told Magistrate Depasquale that the case was “in limbo” and that the magistrate had responded in saying that Busuttil was merely trying to raise from the dead decisions which had already been taken and which were final. Abela noted that the magistrate also said that the decision taken on 8 January by Magistrate Grixti was not “unbelievable” – as Simon Busuttil had put it – but was “studied well” and had strong basis.

Abela said that the decision of Busuttil and his clique to be so committed to what was a “frontal attack” against persons and institutions was deeply disrespectful to the courts and to the principles of rule of law as a whole.

Zammit Lewis meanwhile said that the only person truly in limbo was Busuttil himself and added that it was time for PN leader Adrian Delia to take action against Busuttil, and that if he does not do this it is clear that he has no 'moral authority' over his own MPs.

He said that this is the third “legal knockout” that Busuttil had sustained in the past six months after the publication of the Egrant inquiry and after Magistrate Grixti’s ruling earlier this month, and added that Busuttil is a threat to rule of law in the country. 

Asked by this newsroom whether, in their view, Tuesday’s verdict absolves Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi of all accusations against them, Zammit Lewis said what was sure is that the investigations that are still being conducted will continue to be conducted as the government does not intervene in such matters.

He added that the latest verdict was an example of the judiciary working independently and was a celebration of rule of law.

 

Abela meanwhile added that what was more important was the decree laid down on 8 January, wherein the principles laid out there also touch on the subject matters of the remaining pending investigations.  This was because, Abela explained, the Courts had, through that decree, established what was admissible and what was inadmissible in terms of evidence. 

He said that as a result and as he sees things, every magistrate leading investigations should do so according to the principles that the Criminal Court had established.  Naturally, he continued, this would remain the prerogative of the Court itself and said that the party believes that institutions should be left to do their work and legal scrutiny as they should be, and that every magistrate should be free to reach a decision as they see fit and then naturally there are remedies which anybody can then delve into.

 

 

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