A total of 2,501 magisterial inquiries were opened between January 2015 and July 2017, Parliament was told.

Justice Minister Owen Bonnici said that only 1,461 – or 58 per cent – were closed.

Replying to a parliamentary question tabled by Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi, the minister published a table showing that four magistrates handled more than 150 cases each in the period under review. Magistrates Anthony Vella, Josette Demicoli, Gabriella Vella and Doreen Clarke had 203, 179, 166 and 155 cases respectively opened.

Magistrate Tonio Micallef Trigona, now retired, concluded almost 88 per cent of the inquiries before him during that period, followed by Magistrate Charmaine Galea (82.4 per cent) and Magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera (80.6 per cent).

The highest pending caseloads are being handled by Dr Clarke (109), Magistrate Marse-Ann Farrugia (99) and Magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit (88).

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