Prime Minister Robert Abela has pledged to address the “decades-old problem” of delays in Malta’s courts.
“I am determined to address it. We won’t find a solution tomorrow. A decades-old problem is not solved over a few days,” he told a political activity in Sliema.
Abela’s comments come in the wake of a renewed focus on the issue following the sentencing of Jean-Marc Dalli, the son of EU Commissioner Helena Dalli, to three months in prison over an incident involving just six ecstasy pills eight years ago.
While figures for the length of criminal cases is not immediately available, a 2020 EU study of Malta’s courts found that its delays are some of the longest in Europe.
Court delays can sometimes have fatal consequences. Daniel Muka, the man who allegedly murdered two men in their Sliema home, was out on bail because of court delays at the time of the murder.
Abela admitted it will not be easy, but said it was crucial to address an issue that “has been swept under the rug for far too long”.
Il-Prim Ministru u Mexxej Laburista, Robert Abela f'Tas-Sliema
Posted by Robert Abela on Saturday, January 30, 2021
The rest of Abela’s address was based around the idea of national unity, insisting it was vital to solve the nation’s crucial issues.
He called on the Opposition to join the government to create a united voice on issues like migration and the controversial citizenship-by-investment scheme.
“My appeal now, while the Commission is looking at the revised programme, is that we have one single position as a country. We cannot have a government that supports the changes and an Opposition that doesn’t. We need to be on the same page about this,” he said.
Abela backed continued COVID-19 measures, insisting that Malta was “heaven” compared to other countries around the world handling the pandemic.
“We are living in heaven, even at this moment. Look at what is happening elsewhere. In Sicily, Libya, Spain, France, Germany…look around you and you will see how well we are living. This is because of the decisions we took but also because the people obeyed and made sacrifices,” he said.
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