Jason Azzopardi renounces Repubblika brief; cites orchestrated campaign

Press_Conference_Jason_Azzopardi

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Jason Azzopardi has decided to renounce his brief as a lawyer for rule of law NGO Repubblika in its case concerning allegations of wrongdoing by army officials on board P52.

In a statement on Facebook, Azzopardi explained that he was taking a step back after consulting with his clients and that the decision was not an easy one but it was taken in order to avoid to be used as a “weapon” by the Prime Minister.

The case concerns two separate criminal complaints filed by the NGO – one against Prime Minister Robert Abela and Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi and the second against the crew of Patrol Boat P52. The complaints were signed by Azzopardi, Paul Borg Olivier and Andrew Borg Cardona.

The Nationalist MP said that although he saw no conflict between his parliamentary role and that as one of Repubblika’s legal counsel, the controversy was make it difficult for him to carry out both functions properly.

He highlighted that in no way he wanted his professional role as a lawyer to be used by the Prime Minister as a “weapon” to distract the public from substance of the matter.

Azzopardi said that Abela as a lawyer himself “should know better”. He added that the Prime Minister resorted to an orchestrated racist campaign aimed at silencing his critics.

Prime Minister Robert Abela has singled out Azzopardi during an address to the nation in which he said that he was being accused of homicide. Subsequently a magisterial inquiry has been appointed into the case.

On Tuesday, Repubblika submitted evidence to the court regarding the case.

In a statement, Partit Labuirsta claimed that Azzopardi is responsible for the ongoing investigation against the AFM crew, the army Commander and the Prime Minister. Partit Laburista said that Azzopardi was the “first to accuse them of wrongdoing without having facts at hand.” Partit Laburista accused Azzopardi of political hatred.

In a brief statement, Partit Nazzjonalista said that it took note of Azzopardi’s decision and backed the MP, saying that his job was being used deceptively by the Prime Minister to try and attack the Opposition.