Decisions of the judiciary

I would like to refer to what purport to be reports in the Times of Malta of what I said during the swearing in of new members of the judiciary recently. These reports tended to be very summary and not always faithful to what I said, probably as a result of a need for brevity and, possibly, due to translation problems. Therefore, I would like to be given the opportunity to set the record straight. What I did say was on the following lines.

The judiciary is all the time under the scrutiny of the public because judicial proceedings are public and so are court judgments. It is therefore not uncommon that the decisions of the judiciary are subjected to criticism and when this is measured and constructive this is legitimate and fair.

There are some, even those from whom you expect much better due to the nature of the positions (legal and judicial) which they occupied in the past, who, instead of criticising indulge in vilifying, humiliating and slandering the judiciary because they are in disagreement with their decisions.

They choose to do so by the use of words intended to serve as a warning to others not to hazard to respond for, otherwise, they too would receive the same treatment.

When, recently, similar, if not identical, discourse was directed at the English High Court in reaction to a decision it delivered in connection with the so-called process of Brexit, this kind of discourse was described by a former English attorney general as reminiscent of a fascist State. This is not right or fair. But this is the cross which every person who takes up judicial office must bear every day and, nevertheless, remains obliged to continue to administer justice as he in his conscience understands it should be administered and not as someone else believes it should be.

What I said was on the above lines. As I have repeatedly affirmed, I do not expect at all that the judiciary should not be criticised but, then, I prefer to be criticised for what I actually say rather than for what I am reported by others to have said.


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