‘Serenity for judiciary is futile’ if PM meddles in courts, says ADPD

ADPD reiterated its appeal to President George Vella to call an immediate Council for the Administration of Justice meeting in order to take the necessary steps

(Archived Photo: ADPD)
(Archived Photo: ADPD)

According to ADPD, Robert Abela's declaration that "institutions should be left to work serenely" is fruitless, if "he tries to meddle where he should not." 

"Abela was correct in protesting about sentences meted out in criminal cases," ADPD Deputy Chairperson Sandra Gauci remarked on Saturday, referring to one of Abela's political speeches. 

During his political speech at the Birkirkara Labour Party Club, on Sunday, the Prime Minister admitted to interacting with a Magistrate who told him heavy penalties are reduced by the Court of Appeal.

"This behaviour poses a threat to the independence of our country's court because it places inappropriate pressure on it from the political and executive branches of the state," said ADPD Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo. 

Cacopardo argued courts should not receive any guidance from the government, whether direct or indirect. 

"Instead of allowing the institutions to do their work, the Prime Minister has chosen the partisan route that inevitably continues to enhance the loss of faith in institutions. This is hardly what one would expect from a serious Prime Minister of a democratic country which follows the rule of law," Gauci said.

On Monday, the ADPD urged President George Vella to "call an immediate Council for the Administration of Justice meeting in order to take the necessary steps." 

The Commission for the Administration of Justice is directed by the President of the Republic and is mostly formed of members of the judiciary. 

Cacopardo reiterated this appeal, stating the Prime Minister should have taken this line of action calmly and measuredly. 

He referred to the Code of Ethics for the Judiciary, which states that no member of the judiciary shall speak directly with Cabinet members unless through the Chief Justice.

“If Robert Abela did not shy away from pressuring a Magistrate regarding sentencing, what other additional pressures are being made without public knowledge?” asked Cacopardo.

ADPD also called for Members of Parliament to dedicate themselves full-time to parliamentary duties. 

The Green Party believes MPs should not be allowed to have any other form of employment, whether paid or voluntary. 

“This is the only way to address effectively the stark conflict of interest faced by Members of Parliament in the existing system,” concluded Cacopardo