The Malta Independent 30 November 2022, Wednesday
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Woman's murder 'unacceptable', it means we need to do more - Justice Minister

Tuesday, 22 November 2022, 18:09 Last update: about 7 days ago

Justice Minister Jonathan Attard told The Malta Independent that the domestic violence case involving Bernice Cassar had already started being heard, as a protection order had been issued by the courts.

Earlier in the day, Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri had confirmed that the police had investigated reports of alleged domestic violence and pressed charges against the suspect in the murder.

Minister Attard confirmed that the next sitting of the case was due next November, but said that the case had already started being heard since the court had convened urgently to decide on a request to grant a protection order last July, which request was granted.

The minister described the murder as "unacceptable", saying that it "leads us to reflect more on this subject, and there is a lot still to do"

He told this newsroom that the inquiry that will look into whether any state entities failed in their duty will be set up and will establish the facts and identify what the responsibility of the entities involved were and what could be done better in the future.

In Parliament earlier in the day, PN MPs commented on the inefficiency of the courts because only one magistrate is assigned to deal with domestic violence cases. Aquilina also mentioned how there are currently 1,429 pending cases.

Asked about the possible appointment of another magistrate to deal with such cases, he said that the government intends to appoint two new magistrates, but the assignment of members of the judiciary is at the discretion of the Chief Justice. However, he said that the Chief Justice had said that if a new magistrate is appointed, the magistrate will be assigned domestic violence cases.

Right now, the minister said, the process to appoint two new judges is underway, following which the process to appoint two new magistrates will begin. The reason for this, is in case any current magistrates apply for the post of judges, in which case the call for magistrates will be expanded if any become judges.

 


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