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Chamber of Advocates hits out at Abela for implying PN 'plays home' in court

The Chamber of Advocates has hit out at the Prime Minister for implying in parliament that the courts are biased in favour of the Nationalist Party.

The Chamber of Advocates was referring to Monday's heated parliamentary debate about the court's decision that had earlier that day confirmed the hospitals' deal officially null and void.

During that debate, Prime Minister Robert Abela said the Opposition appeared to be only interested in having people investigated and thrown to court or the police.

"The Opposition's policy today is throwing people before the courts," he said.

"Now, I won't say it's because they're playing home. People can arrive at their own conclusions."

The comment caused an uproar in the room, with Opposition Leader Bernard Grech demanding Abela clarifies what he meant by that statement.

"The Prime Minister must confirm whether he was attacking our courts and the chief justice with that statement. He should either take it back or back it up it," Grech said.

Abela dismissed the demand, saying Grech had just confirmed his statement, and later saying it was clear to what proceedings he was referring.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Chamber of Advocates did not specifically mention Abela and neither did it quote his comments, but said that, during the parliamentary debate, "it was implied that there might be a form of partiality on the court of justice's part in favour of a local political party".

"The Chamber of Advocates feels that these comments, which were made within the scope of parliamentary privilege, undermine the functions of the court in a country that should be led by the rule of law," it said.

The chamber emphasised that the separation of power is the foundation of a strong democratic society, so that the executive, legislative and judiciary may operate independently from each other. Any type of declaration that can in any way distort this separation is concerning, it said.

The statement said every MP should respect the independence and integrity of the judiciary - which is essential and vital in a democratic society.

"The Chamber of Advocates believes that Parliament has a duty to not undermine the trust in the institutions which are there to protect and safeguard the Rule of Law in this country," it said.