After the government announced the judicial appointments on Sunday, the activist group, Rezistenza hung a banner over the Law Courts’ gate in Valletta. The banner shows ‘Lady Justice’ being slapped across the face by Justice Minister Owen Bonnici who’s holding a mask in his hand.
In a statement which accompanied the release of photos, Rezistenza protested against the appointment of Magistrate Scerri Herrera. Rezistenza asked what were the legitimate reasons that led to Scerri Herrera’s appointment after an identical request was made in January 2017. Furthermore, Rezistenza raised its concerns regarding Anthony Vella’s appointment arguing that the inquiry will have to be led by a different magistrate.
Rezistenza with its poster mocking Justice Minister Bonnici ended their statement that ‘letter of the law is being used to break its spirit when outcomes are not favourable to the government and its agents’ hence why Bonnici is holding a mask in his hand as he symbolically destroys ‘Lady Justice’.
Government announces new Judiciary appointments
Six appointments have been announced to the Magistrates and the Judiciary. The three new judges are senior magistrate Dr. Anthony J. Vella, Magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera and Magistrate Grazio Mercieca. The three new magistrates are going to be Dr. Rachel Montebello, Dr. Simone Grech and Dr. Astrid May Grima.
The government advised the President of Malta to endorse these appointments after they were approved by the Judicial Appointments Committee.
These changes will result in the first time in Malta’s legal system were there will be a majority of women in the Judicial System; 23 female judges compared to 22 male judges. This heavily contrasts with 5 years ago, where the amount of females in the Judicial System amounted to only 35%.
According to the statement issued by government, the new appointments have led to a higher number of judges, since when compared with last year, there will now be an additional two Judges and an additional two Magistrates.