PM Abela said that justice will not be served if all Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murderers walk free. “We can’t go in the direction where no one is found guilty in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder […] If we want justice, but it means everyone walks free, then that isn’t justice,” is the exact quote reported by MaltaToday, albeit in translation, as I assume he was talking to Saviour Balzan in Maltese.

Taken on the face of it, Abela’s point is well made. Individuals offering to confirm their guilt and their involvement in the assassination must not be given preferential treatment for telling the truth. If they have anything to say, they can just say it, they’ve made their bed and they can lie in it.

This might appear to jibe with the inescapable fact that two people have already been given preferential treatment. One led to Yurgen Fenech being prosecuted, and others becoming the subject of serious suspicion, another led to others being arrested, apart from the effect on the alleged co-triggermen’s case.

If these two cases produced results, why not take the matter further and net others? That is how the populist refrain goes. It’s the one that sings to the tune being played by the ones who now want their own get out of jail free or their discount cards.

The motives behind the drone being inflicted on us by this chorus are varied.

Some clearly have Yurgen Fenech’s colours nailed firmly to their mast, steadfastly promoting the idea that he is not guilty, because there are other mastermind(s) involved. Individual elements in this section of the chorus might subscribe to the idea that he is not the only one who is guilty (he is asking for a pardon, demanding that we ask “pardon for what?”) These elements, naively or malignly, ignore the effect of the tune they they are being eager to call on the minds of potential jurors.

Not to put too fine a point on it, the more confusion that is sown about who ordered or who might have ordered or who therefore didn’t order the assassination, the more the chances increase that everyone concerned will walk, pardon or no pardon. I don’t imagine that this is what Abela had in mind. His was a less nuanced statement, I’m pretty sure.

Other elements of the chorus have different objectives, it is fair to say. They want a quick fix, and some go further, preferring a fix that drags prominent politicians into the mix. Let’s not beat around the bush, if others are involved, whoever they are, they must be prosecuted, this much is so clear that I feel almost ridiculous even writing it.

They must be prosecuted as a result of proper and determined investigations, however, not by relying on the word of characters who are certainly not acting out of a sense of duty or altruism. Superintendent Arnaud and Inspector Zahra and their team have achieved results. There’s no reason why others should not have done the same. Whether certain quarters truly wanted them to, or even worse, obstructed them from doing it is a matter that itself needs to be investigated.

As tempting as the shiny gewgaw of having politicians involved in this and other crimes might be, the elements in the Pardoners’ Chorus who are singing along because of this must stop it. Seriously, enough now: justice must be done for itself and on its own terms, for my friend and for her family, and not because of some convenient political fall-out. If there politicians who are guilty of this crime , or any others, fine, they can go down after proper investigations. I won’t insult your intelligence by repeating how.

Robert Abela is right, you might be surprised to read me writing. Cynics among you might wonder whether he is not part of the chorus because he might not like lyrics that spell out names that might embarrass his party. A fair question, taken in the context of his eagerness to get the Public Inquiry done and dusted and the triumphalism that permeates his (empty) crowing about dysfunctional institutions and how they’re (not) working.

Robert Abela is right whatever his motives are: no more pardons, no more speculation, no more cynical manoeuvring. Getting justice done is a more important objective than those other populists’ mantras about getting Brexit done or making America great, again.