Inquiry launched into anonymous threats Magistrate Nadine Lia received by mail

Magistrate Nadine Lia, the daughter-in-law of Joseph Muscat's lawyer, has refused to recuse herself from challenge proceedings by NGO Repubblika over the Pilatus Bank inquiry

Magistrate Nadine Lia
Magistrate Nadine Lia

A magisterial inquiry has been launched into anonymous threats that Magistrate Nadine Lia has received, warning that her career and personal life were at stake.

Lia received the letter on Tuesday.

Justice Minister Jonathan Attard expressed his solidarity with Lia, stating that threats could never be tolerated.

On Facebook, Attard condemned any threats intended to prevent members of the judiciary from carrying out their work serenely.

"Anyone who believes in the rule of law should respect the judicial processes and should allow them to take place in court according to the law," Attard said.

NGO Repubblika “unreservedly” condemned the threats Lia received, saying that although it had openly criticised Lia, criticism had to be done civilly.

"Criticism should be done like this and not with threats and secretive actions. Disagreement must be expressed in a civil manner and within the limits of the law," the NGO said in a statement. "We hope that the authorities investigate and take all the action in accordance to the law."

On Monday Repubblika filed constitutional proceedings over Lia’s refusal to recuse herself from challenge proceedings initiated by the NGO.

In the challenge proceedings, Repubblika requested the court to compel the Police Commissioner to prosecute several individuals singled out by the Pilatus Bank inquiry.

Repubblika said it had shown that the Pilatus inquiry had ended in March 2021 and that amongst its conclusions, it had ordered the police to press money laundering and criminal conspiracy charges against several individuals.

These included “close friends of ex-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his ex-Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, as well as that the magisterial inquiry had found grounds for additional charges of trading in influence against Schembri,” it said.

The challenge proceedings had been assigned to Lia, who is usually assigned such cases. Repubblika had immediately asked the magistrate to recuse herself from hearing this case, on the grounds that she is married to the son of Joseph Muscat’s lawyer, Pawlu Lia.