Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne has refused to state whether he feels uncomfortable with Malta having an Opposition leader whose wife is accusing him of domestic violence, arguing that he will await a court verdict before commenting.
“Just as I have stated in other cases of alleged criminality, such as those levelled against [PN MEP] David Casa, the institutions – the police, the court and, in this case, the Domestic Violence Commissioner, should be allowed to do their work,” Fearne told Lovin Malta. “I’ll only comment if and when these proceedings come to a conclusion.”
The reference to Casa concerns accusations by the MEP’s former aide last October that he was a frequent user of cocaine. The police have refused to confirm whether they are investigating the case and Casa himself has not followed up on an initial suggestion that he will take legal action to clear his name.
In Delia’s case, Lovin Malta has asked the police whether they will launch an investigation and whether it is practice for them to investigate accusations of domestic violence made in court, even when a police report hasn’t been filed. However, no response has been forthcoming four days down the line.
Fearne dismissed claims that Labour MPs were instructed not to comment on the case but said he believes matrimonial issues should remain private.
“I think it would be hypocritical to state that [Adrian Delia] is the only politician who has had, or who will have, matrimonial problems,” he said.
He also commented on statements by PN officials, who have chosen to remain anonymous, that they are considering trying to force Delia out as PN leader.
“Whether there’s a leadership contest within the PN and whether there are different factions pulling different ropes is their own business,” said Fearne, who has himself been widely tipped to launch a leadership challenge when Prime Minister Joseph Muscat steps down. “It’s an internal issue that has become external, but I think they need to sort it out themselves with responsibility towards the electorate.”
Meanwhile, Domestic Violence Commissioner Simone Cini has also passed the buck to the courts, arguing that she will not comment on allegations.
“We could be talking about any citizen here,” she said. “There are judicial structures in which people can file reports, and as Commissioner my role is to ensure these institutions are working.”
Parliamentary Standards Commissioner George Hyzler has also confirmed he will not be launching an investigation, arguing that his office is prohibited from scrutinising any issue that is the topic of an ongoing court case or police investigation.