There’s an article by Joe Brincat on it-Torċa today that is a laboratory sample of warped logic and incorrigible rejection of common sense that should be dunked in formaldehyde and sent on a tour of museums.
He criticised Repubblika’s sit-in protest in front of the police headquarters where activists led by Repubblika’s Numbers One and Two, Robert Aquilina and Alessandra Dee Crespo, camped for 72 hours calling for the prosecution of Konrad Mizzi.
His first complaint was that the protest was “illegal”. Sure, he concedes patronisingly, Repubblika have a right to protest. But the pavement they used to protest on is public property that is supposed to be accessible to the public. They occupied a pavement where a restaurant would not be allowed to set up tables and chairs to serve pastizzi, and a parking space which is meant for parking. Ergo, the erudite lawyer explains, the protest was illegal.
So there. On the assumption that Joe Brincat is not suggesting that you break into someone else’s property, from now on if you want to exercise your right to protest you can only do so within your own property. Set up a tent in your living room and sleep in it for as long as you like and you can tell yourself you are demanding Konrad Mizzi’s arrest. But do your protest anywhere else and Joe Brincat will remind you it’s illegal.
He must have got his legal training under Lavrentiy Beria.
Actually, Joe Brincat would also consider a protest in your own living room calling for Konrad Mizzi to be arrested an illegal act because it is, he says, outside the constitutional norms on the enforcement of crime. An arrest can only be conducted by a police officer of a certain rank on the basis of reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed.
Nobody disagrees, Joe Brincat. A document was handed to the police drawn up by a state intelligence agency set up to investigate financial crimes with a pile of documentary evidence of criminal activity and with the conclusion that there is “a reasonable suspicion” (that’s a direct quote) that Konrad Mizzi committed financial crimes.
Since constitutionally only police officers of a certain rank can act on that reasonable suspicion, Repubblika’s protesters were exactly where they needed to be. Everyone else wasn’t. The police officers with the constitutional duty to charge Konrad Mizzi remained inside. Konrad Mizzi remained outside. And Joe Brincat? He remains.