Judge Mizzi decides to hear Panama Papers appeals; PN protests
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Judge Mizzi decides to hear Panama Papers appeals; PN protests

Rejects request by Simon Busuttil to recuse himself

Mr Justice Antonio Mizzi has rejected a request by Opposition leader Simon Busuttil to recuse himself from hearing government appeals from a magistrate's decision to hold a formal criminal inquiry into the Panama Papers allegations.

Dr Busuttil had insisted that the judge should recuse himself because he is married to Labour Party MEP Marlene Mizzi, who has commented about the cases.

Seven appeals had been filed against Magistrate Ian Farrugia's decision to launch an inquiry into whether chief of staff Keith Schembri and minister Konrad Mizzi breached money laundering laws.

The appeals were filed by the prime minister, Dr Mizzi, Mr Schembri, Nexia BT's Brian Tonna and Karl Cini, as well as Malcolm Scerri and Adrian Hillman.

"While nobody is attacking the judge's integrity, the simple fact that his wife is a Labour MEP casts a shadow over the case and prevents justice from being seen to be done," the former PN leader had argued.

“Can a judge married to an MEP be seen to give an impartial decision?"

Dr Mizzi in his decision said the issue involved a criminal inquiry, not a decision, and he personally was never involved in politics and was never a member of any political parties. He never associated himself with his wife's political views. 

Dr Busuttil said he is to take his case to the Constitutional Court. 

 

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