Trial by jury of fa­ther charged with rap­ing daugh­ter post­poned af­ter PBS report ‘prej­u­diced case’

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

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.”

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