The Malta Independent 30 September 2022, Friday
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Repubblika to file complaint with Commission for the Administration of Justice against magistrate

Friday, 23 September 2022, 12:07 Last update: about 6 days ago

Repubblika is going to file a complaint with the Commission for the Administration of Justice against Magistrate Nadine Lia, it said in a statement.

Repubblika has been calling for the recusal of the magistrate in the challenge proceedings filed by Repubblika over police inaction against former Pilatus Bank officials, as she is married to the son of Lawyer Pawlu Lia, Joseph Muscat's lawyer. The NGO has even filed a constitutional case over the issue.

The complaint filed before the Commission for the Administration of Justice is linked to a sitting of the aforementioned police inaction against former bank officials case on 15 September. Magistrate Lia held a short sitting that day. According to reports, she had told the court room that she had received an anonymous letter in connection with the proceedings, excused herself, and left the courtroom.

It would later be revealed that the letter read: "Now see us break your career and marriage. Happy like this! Next time obey us as others have done. Yes to omerta (code of silence), no to challenge," and had been sent to her home. Repubblika condemned any threats made against the magistrate.

Among other things, Repubblika President Robert Aquilina is arguing that their lawyer had tried to make verbal submissions on 15 September, but the magistrate ended the sitting abruptly. He, along with his lawyer Jason Azzopardi, had then filed a note in the acts of the case on 15 September in which they said that they were not allowed to speak during the hearing of that case, among other things.

On 22nd September, Repubblika said, the magistrate issued a decree on this note Aquilina and Azzopardi had filed. The Magistrate's decree states that no party made a request, addressed to the court, for any notes to be dictated, "let alone that this request was denied. In view of the fact that lawyer Azzopardi said he started to 'speak' words, certainly he did not say anything that reached or was heard by the court in this sense." It goes on to mention a number of other things.

Repubblika, in a statement on Friday, said it was shocked by the Magistrate's decree, "which includes a number of affirmations by the magistrate that absolutely do not correspond to the truth of the facts that we saw happen before our eyes."

"As such, we have entered a note into the acts of the case Lia presides over. Aside from that, we also presented signed declarations by Aquilina, Alessandra Dee Crespo and Manuel Delia, in which they gave a detailed account, under oath, of what happaned during and after the mentioned sitting. This heavily contrasts the content of the Magistrate's decree."

Copies of news reports from the 15 September sitting were also presented, Repubblika said.

"Before Magistrate Lia, Republikka can never have a fair hearing on the case it has against the police commissioner," Repubblika said.

In view of the Magistrate's decree, Repubblika said, arguing that its content is a breach of the Judiciary's code of ethics, "Repubblika will have to file a formal complaint against the magistrate before the Commission for the Administration for Justice."

 


 

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