Locus standi

Locus standi

Joseph Muscat’s lawyers said in court today Simon Busuttil has no interest in whether money-laundering and corruption suspects exposed by the Panama papers should be investigated by the police.

I confess that is an inaccurate statement. Strictly speaking they said Simon Busuttil has no place asking the constitutional court to force the recusal of a Labour MEP’s spouse from hearing Joseph Muscat’s appeal from a decision of a lower court, requested by Simon Busuttil as a private citizen, that the police should investigate what the Panama Papers revealed.

I declare the simplification because it is not intended to mislead. It is intended to reveal the simple fact that Joseph Muscat is trying to obfuscate.

When you explain to journalists from outside Malta trying to cover this story, that the Prime Minister of Malta is resisting in court the conduct of an investigation that would, if he is saying the truth, exonerate him once and for all, they cannot believe they are covering news from a democracy.

What is hardest to understand is that in this court battle there is no Leader of the Opposition — even a former one — or a Prime Minister.

We have two Maltese citizens arguing in court whether the suspicion one has that the other broke the law should be investigated by the police. Try to see this down to its bare bones. Your neighbour has a dog you think is wild and dangerous. You report the matter to the police. They do nothing. You report the matter again. They do nothing. You go to court to ask it to order to police to look into the matter and the court agrees. The neighbour appeals and says his dog is none of your business.

That’s what Joseph Muscat is telling Simon Busuttil and through him to all of us. That it’s none of our business whether the police should investigate him on suspicions he committed crimes grounded on publicly available facts.

It IS our business. The fact that Joseph Muscat is saying it isn’t is another nail in the coffin in which he is seeking to bury our democracy.

If you’re not following what’s going on in court in this case, you should be. Try to understand why the world’s press is now paying attention. Try to fit Joseph Muscat’s ‘artful dodging’ with John Sweeney yesterday with what Joseph Muscat’s lawyers said on his behalf in court today: it’s not your business to know whether there is a “shred of proof” which, if it does exist, he said would lead to his immediate resignation.

  • Immediate resignation? You must be joking. It’s all on the cards and on the witch ball. First it was some good job in Brussels fitting with hugs and kisses, but now it will be another 4th April affair of self-kicking upstairs to a level where the hand of justice might find it too hard to reach.

  • Patricia Mifsud

    Justice should not only be done, but seen to be done, not be hampered every step of the way. An innocent man would do his utmost to speed up the proceedings to clear his name. Doing the opposite gives people the distinct impression that one is not innocent.

  • Rosie

    That last word in this post says it all to me , if he had the balls our Police Commissioner believes he does, he should use incarceration not resignation.

    • thedirectone

      Rosie, he don’t have balls, not even a decent brain.

    • Carlo mancini

      When You say incarceration you mean as in the Police being judge and jury? Should not be the Courts decision to give a custodial sentence? The police can build a criminal case. Malta is not a country where people wearing uniforms impose law and order. If that would be the case then God help us.

      • Rosie

        I never implied anything of the sort. Muscat , if he’s so sure of his innocence, should say himself that he should go to prison .
        And you seem to have a lot of faith in our institutions, do you actually live here?

        • Carlo mancini

          Oh here we go, I happen to have a foreign surname. Rosie, I agree with you that our institutions need a revamp, but it should happen within the confines of the law. If I actually live in Malta, my answer is I am a Maltese citizen, born and bred, also educated in Malta. Staunchly proud of our heritage. Now because of my work, I do spend time all over Europe. Does that means to you that my view is irrelevant, or of less importance?

          • Rosie

            Please let’s start again , I am agreeing with you, I just expect our Prime Minister to affirm that if he is found to have broken the law he should be jailed like every one else.
            And I asked if you actually live here because no amount of reading up on the situation locally can give you the feeling of helplessness and exasperation when faced with the actions or lack of from our so called institutions.

          • Carlo mancini

            An incumbent Prime Minister dismissed and prosecuted? Above all a Prime Minister of a European Union Member state. That will never happen. I don’t think it ever happened in any other EU country. I can mention a few Silvio Berlusconi, Jacques Chirac, Tony Blair (not guilty), Martin McGuinness (IRA commander) and Giulio Andreotti also not guilty.
            I am not sure about immunity from prosecution, as in how it works if it goes to the European Court of Justice.

          • Rosie

            I like to compare Muscat more with Nicolae Ceaușescu or Bettino Craxi or Adolf Hitler.

          • Carlo mancini

            My comparison was as leader of nation in the European Union. Joseph Muscat might be a lot of things but he is neither a Hitler nor a Ceausescu.

  • Winston Psaila

    The interminable procrastination to block the path of justice is, surely, evidence in itself of a criminal purpose.

  • Peter

    And Lawrence Fenek Cutajar says that 2017 was a successful year for The Police Corps. 2018 seems to be getting better for him from week one. First Tonna, then three policemen caught with drugs. And the Minister tells us because of long hours.

  • AD

    Well said , Manuel, the guy has lots to hid.

  • Noel Tonna

    How can anyone beleive what he says anymore is beyond me! He said he would resign so many times yet he is still in power.

  • Joseph Farrugia

    If there a” shred of prove ” the Prim Minister should not resign but be arrested as any other criminal and be judge by our courts.

  • Mac Taylor

    As for the proof that the Judge asked for, Simon Busuttil can deposit certified copies all the documents he had deposited on Magistrate Aaron Bugeja’s desk, and then some more. I do think that Joseph Muscat is trembling in his boots.

  • just me

    The fact that Joseph Muscat is opposing the carrying out of this investigation is proof of his guilt. This should be obvious to anybody with even a minimal amount of intelligence.

  • may borg

    “He also declared that Busuttil, through his lawyer Jason Azzopardi, had to submit within one week the evidence demonstrating why Mizzi’s decision to continue to preside over the Panama appeals case would cause Busuttil to suffer a breach of his right to a fair hearing due to the judge’s marital relationship with Marlene Mizzi.”

    Either the reporting is not correct or there is something terribly wrong with the request of the learned judge. What kind of evidence is he expecting to be produced?

    Judge Antonio Mizzi is married to a Labour MEP and has to decide on a political issue which involves the Party she so heartily embraces and works for. It is more than reasonable to doubt whether full justice can be done and seen to be done. That is enough reason why he should recuse himself. As to producing evidence, it beats me.

  • Beingpressed
  • saggio

    Sadly, Malta has become ‘Locus Skandali’!

  • Godfrey Leone Ganado

    We all know it existed, but Joseph Muscat, pimping his prostitute police commissioner, with pay back time by Pilatus Bank, concocts the mid-night hijack plan of transferring potentially incriminating documentation from Ta’ Xbiex to Dubai via Baku, thinking that it will all end there.

    Mr Prime Minister – why are you afraid of facing justice, together with your spouse whose name appears on the alleged declarations of trust exposed by the whistle blower who you fear so much?
    If you are convinced of your innocence, you would go the whole hog and expedite matters.

    If you remain sitting on the fence in your spouse’s preferred transit mode, don’t complain that we keep assassinating your highly stained political career which became blood red with the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, who I hope haunts your daily sleep.

  • Spiderman

    Basically Busuttil has been asked for proof that by not recusing himself, Judge Mizzi might produce a biased verdict. How more ridiculous can this farce get ? Judge Mizzi is to decide if an appeal not to proceed with an inquiry involving his wife’s boss. How can one even say it’s not a conflict of interest ?

    Recently we had a judge recuse herself because 30 years ago she was in class with the victim. Note that this was not the trial itself, just the compilation of evidence.

    • just me

      “Recently we had a judge recuse herself because 30 years ago she was in class with the victim. Note that this was not the trial itself, just the compilation of evidence.”

      Not with the victim, i.e. with Daphne, but with her sister Mandy. This is what Mandy Mallia, Daphne’s sister said on her facebook page:

      “The magistrate in question was a classmate of mine (not of Daphne’s) until 1983 – a full 34 years ago – with communication which was sporadic at best since then. There was definitely with an absence of communication for several years, until the same magistrate herself resumed contact with somebody I know after roughly a 5-year-gap to get my phone number (which shows how much we were previously in contact with each other) to wish me a happy 50th birthday in June (a date the magistrate herself would remember, since we were born on the same day).
      There was no communication between the magistrate and myself again until she attempted to contact me herself by phone on the 1st of November, a full two weeks after my sister’s assassination. Rather than call her back myself, I contacted her via Whatsapp message, telling her that I assumed that she wanted to convey her condolences, and that if that was not the case, she could send me a message.
      In her reply via Whatsapp message, the magistrate confirmed that that was “indeed” the case, and it was in the same message that she also told me in passing that her aunt had died on the 19th of October. My natural reaction at that point was to convey my condolences, purely out of good manners. I did not even know of her aunt’s existence, let alone of her death, unlike the impression that people may have gleaned in December.
      The information may seem trivial to some, but it needed to be said, because I am not a sheep, nor do I like to be portrayed as one (less still, one that is probably protected by copyright, as some are wont to use for their Whatsapp profile picture).”

  • Carmel Ellul

    There is no stronger proof of Muscat’s guilt than the great efforts he is doing to block the investigations.
    An innocent person has no fear of being investigated.

  • Angus Black

    Just take into account the obstacles, the delays, postponements of any process against the government and one can conclude that this is a typical maneuver just to tire the public of listening to case over case involving scandals and corruption.
    Yes, there comes a point that the more one hears about the same thing over and over again, the interest in the subject wanes, or worse creates a mental block, and the ordinary person starts thinking, ‘what else is new’, and carries on with daily life as if nothing is happening.
    For Gowzef and his crooks this tactic seems to be working just fine.

  • C. Brincat

    They know. They just don’t care as they see government as a money tap and good on him who gets what he can from the tap.