The magistrate and daughter-in-law of Joseph Muscat’s personal lawyer, Nadine Lia has refused to recuse herself from a case which potentially involves money laundering of Joseph Muscat’s illicit funds and his close circle of friends. NGO chairperson Robert Aquilina who brought the case to the courts is alleging against documents he has, that the police failed to act on an official inquiry which found that there was enough evidence to prosecute Pilatus Bank’s officials.
By refusing to recuse herself, Nadine Lia is sending two messages: either that Joseph Muscat and his close friends have nothing to do with Pilatus Bank, or that her relationship with her father-in-law would not jeopardise her judgment which is ridiculous. The “Tagħna Lkoll” Magistrate could have chosen prudence given the highly sensitive political nature of the case, but she didn’t. The magistrate is also demanding Robert Aquilina to declare his source arguing it is not reliable until declared. I would also suggest this thread by Christoph Schwaiger for more reading about the case.
The situation is bizarre at best, and Repubblika may very well be able to win the constitutional case in which they started to overturn Lia’s refusal to recuse herself, and that would set a good precedent. Meanwhile, the police probably feel that civil society is interfering in their work, but we would not have been here if the police would have made bigger efforts to prosecute political criminals. This is how the new police commissioner is using police funds instead: off-road vehicles for the use against communist rebels in the jungle.