Trial by jury of father charged with raping daughter postponed after PBS report ‘prejudiced case’
The trial by jury regarding the case of a father accused of raping his daughter, which was supposed to start yesterday, was postponed following an appeal which was filed before the Constitutional Court, with the court ruling that reports in the media could prejudice the proceedings.
In her decision to suspend the trial by jury, Judge Edwina Grima deplored the lack of media ethics by Television Malta and its web portal for revealing details of the case before the trial started.
The court ruled that certain details were not supposed to be published in the media as it would prejudice the case.
The trial regarded the case of a man who is charged with raping his daughter, who at the time of the crime was only nine years old.
Lawyers representing the accused filed a constitutional case claiming that his fundamental rights were breached when he was initially arrested. The accused had claimed that he was held under arrest in jail for the period longer than is allowed by the law.
Originally, the court presided by Judge Mark Chetcuti, had denied the request for the jury to be postponed.
Judge Edwina Grima noted the lack of ethics by journalists and their lack of professionalism in reporting about the trial with details on the case before the proceedings started.
It also condemned the person who passed on the information to journalists which contained certain details that could only be acquired by people who had direct access to secret information.
The court also deplored the accused for choosing to file the request for suspension only two weeks before the date of the jury so that the proceedings get deferred. “In the light of all this, the court has no choice but to postpone the jury, with a waste of resources, so that there is no possibility of maladministration of justice which in some way could influence the court’s decision.”