Following yesterday’s confirmation of a COVID-19 case at Malta’s law courts, a young criminal lawyer has urged the public to show some more respect to the legal profession.
“Us self-employed lawyers weren’t given any supplements either, we aren’t considered front liners,” Veronica-Anne Spiteri told Lovin Malta. “We didn’t get a penny during the months when the court was closed and now we continue to work despite many lawyers, judges and magistrates being put in quarantine one by one.”
Yesterday, a defendant in a court sitting was found to be COVID-19 positive following the sitting, prompting a small number of people present to voluntarily self-isolate as a precaution.
One source intimate with the case said that all precautions necessary under the current circumstances were taken in court, with the defendant wearing a mask, and not a visor, the entire time.
Spiteri told Lovin Malta that courts must keep operating to ensure justice continues to be served, but that people should show more respect to everyone who works there.
“For example, the accused doesn’t always need to be accompanied by all their relatives,” he said. “We just want respect from people attending court. If you don’t need to be there, don’t come, because you’re only putting us at risk and we should be protected too.”
“We are being exposed to many people. Judges and magistrates are controlling the court room quite well but sometimes there are many people at once.”