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GWU asks for Workers Memorial Building case to be suspended

Union wants Constitutional Court ruling on judge recusal

The General Workers’ Union today requested the court to suspend the hearing of the case regarding the alleged breach on the use of the Workers Memorial Building pending a decision from the Constitutional Court.

The GWU had already asked for the judge hearing the case to be recused but the First Hall, Civil Court, presided over by Madame Justice Jacqueline Padovani Grima, last month turned down the request.

The request was made because lawyers working with Fenech and Fenech, the firm handling the PN's brief, had family ties with the judge which the GWU felt were allegedly close enough to cast doubt upon her impartiality.

Last Friday, the GWU took its grievance before the Constitutional Court pointing out that although there was no reason to doubt the integrity of Madame Justice Padovani Grima, neither the Union itself nor the public in general would have the "serenity of an independent and impartial judicial process".

Lawyer Aaron Mifsud Bonnici, counsel to the GWU, argued that Madame Justice Padovani Grima should suspend the hearing of the case until the Constitutional Court had reached its verdict. But PN counsel Edward Debono countered that there was "no legal and moral reason" in support of the GWU's request, arguing that proceedings should continue.

The court put off the case until next week for the hearing of submissions by both parties, also requesting Arms and Sciacca Grill – which use the GWU headquarters – to clarify their position with regards to the suspension or otherwise of the hearing.

 

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