The Malta Independent 3 February 2023, Friday
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Updated: Prime Minister not comfortable leaving his daughter walk alone in Valletta

Marc Galdes Monday, 23 January 2023, 13:46 Last update: about 10 days ago

Prime Minister Robert Abela said that he does not feel very comfortable allowing his daughter walk alone in Valletta.

He said he used to be comfortable with it - his daughter is 10 years old - but it is no longer the case.

Abela was answering questions regarding what the government plans to do to assure safety in Malta after Pelin Kaya was run over and killed in Gzira last week (a man has been charged in court over her murder), and the news that a teenager was grievously injured on Saturday evening in an "argument" between youths in Valletta.

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He praised the police for their actions, but urged the courts to reintroduce the sense of security in the country.

When talking about Kaya, he said that it fills him with rage seeing that an innocent woman had to die and her family must suffer the trauma.

"This type of behaviour is not acceptable."

"For those who are not capable of living decently in society and those who are not capable of respecting the basic values of the Maltese people, and those who with egoistic attitudes want to disturb the safe feeling in our country, the courts need to pass on a strong message."

When pressed about what the government is going to do to assure a safe environment, he said that the government has allocated all the requested resources needed for the police, Transport Malta and LESA.

He pointed out how what took place in Valletta was not a one-off, as history has shown that Valletta has certain areas where incidents like the one that happened, without any provocation, take place.

However, he said even if they had to double the number of police on the street, the reality is that they cannot be visible on every road. Therefore, he appealed to the sense of responsibility of every citizen and asked that people not behave like this.

He also appealed to the sense of responsibility when upbringing children. He said that as a parent a person must educate their child to act responsibly and live serenelyl with others in society.

He added that in court there are certain sentences that are too light for the offence.

"I believe the courts need to carry out a revision of their sentencing policies, review previous sentences and balance out certain penalties."

When pressed on what he meant by "sending a strong message," he said that for repeat offenders the time has come when the courts should not be giving light punishments, when the actions deserved harsher punishments.

He said that when the country was greylisted, it had to tighten certain regulations to prevent any financial crimes and also to remove any prior attitudes.

Asked about the two men accused of murdering Sion Grech, who was acquitted 18 years after her murder, he said that "18 years after the occurrence is a completely unacceptable delay."

The men indicted for Grech's murder were 52-year-old Ismael Habesh from Libya and 55-year-old Faical Mahouachi from Tunisia, but their trial came to a close on 20 January and both men were found not guilty of the murder.

He said that the family of the victim should not need to wait 18 years for justice. He also pointed out how the fact that one of the two accused spent ten years in prison waiting for trial only to be acquitted is a complication in itself.

Abela insisted that the government allocated all the necessary resources for the court to work well. He said that all requests to increase judges and magistrates were met.

"It's up to the administration of the court for the resources we gave to be used in the most efficient way possible."

Something which he said he would like to bring forward for a discussion is that most courtrooms are only open for sittings until 1 pm.


 

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