A few more observations about remarks by Joseph Muscat and Robert Abela after yesterday’s police raid on the former prime minister’s house. They said the same thing which suggests they co-ordinated their remarks.

From Times of Malta’s interview with Joseph Muscat:

“Muscat said his faith in the inquiry had now been dented, as his initial offer in November to give testimony about the payments had been turned down.”

And from Malta Today’s report of comments given by Robert Abela:

“PM Robert Abela said he has full trust in the institutions but emphasised that they should safeguard that trust.”

Let’s make one thing absolutely clear though it should have been clear to begin with.

A criminal investigation is not contingent on the trust of the suspect. If you’re charged with a crime it doesn’t matter what you think of the judge or whether you trust her or not. The suspect doesn’t get to decide when or if they’re spoken to, when a search happens in their home, and whether they like or dislike what investigators, prosecutors, jurors, and judges decide to do as long as it is within the limits of the law. And if the suspect thinks anything is out of order they don’t get to decide what happens. They get the right to complain and they don’t get to choose who to complain to or wait to find someone they trust in order to do so.

That’s as far as Joseph Muscat’s trust in the inquiry is concerned. It’s irrelevant. He can stuff it in the chasm between his brows.

Robert Abela’s remark is more serious. He cautions that the trust he has in the institutions should be safeguarded and, therefore, he warns it can be lost. So what if it is? The authority of a magistrate does not come from the prime minister and it doesn’t matter one bit whether the prime minister trusts a magistrate or not. The magistrate’s right and duty to do her job according to law is not contingent on the prime minister’s confidence. Robert Abela’s trust is irrelevant and for the prime minister to dangle it like that is in and of itself an act of intimidatory abuse of power because he’s citing authority he does not have.

Robert Abela can dangle his trust in a government minister because the minister’s job is contingent on the prime minister’s trust. A magistrate is completely, entirely, absolutely independent of the prime minister. Or should be, in a democracy where law rules.

We’re being faced by a threat of mob rule. Jason Micallef has now joined the chorus of Laburisti sal-Mewt hitmen calling for mass protests against the magistrate and the police. In place of the rule of law, this country is being threatened by a populist coup suppressing democratic institutions and replacing them with an extended lease for the criminals that captured our country.

We are skating on very thin ice. Joseph Muscat and Robert Abela would rather we cower in fear. They are putting pressure on the magistrate and the police working on this case with the threat of thousands of angry Laburisti in the streets outside their doors. Muscat and Abela hope the threat will be enough, that they won’t have to release the kraken.

But release it they will if, on this very rare of occasions in our recent history, someone actually does their job and chases the crooks to jail.

Thin ice.