Members of the Judiciary, some of them accompanied by their spouses, this morning waited upon H.E. the President of Malta and Mrs Abela at the Palace in Valletta to exchange the customary New Year greetings. The twelve Judges and Magistrates were led by Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri. The Judges in attendance were Chief Justice Emeritus Vincent De Gaetano, the Hon. Mr Justice David Scicluna (accompanied by Mrs Scicluna), the Hon. Mr Justice Noel Cuschieri, the Hon. Mr Justice Silvio Meli, the Hon. Madam Justice Jacqueline Padovani Grima (accompanied by Dr Paddy Padovani), the Hon. Mr Justice Raymond Mangion (accompanied by Mrs Mangion) and the Hon. Madam Justice Lorraine Schembri Orland. The Magistrates in attendance were Dr Joseph Apap Bologna, Dr Consuelo Scerri Herrera, Dr Doreen Clarke, Dr Francesco Depasquale and Dr Josette Demicoli.
In a brief address the Chief Justice said that recent allegations against some members of the Judiciary had evidently tarnished the image of this third pillar of the State, but added that the truth was that the vast majority of the members of the Judiciary were entirely devoted to their work of administering justice and were above reproach. It was now necessary to regain the trust of the public. This trust had to be earned not by words but by deeds, and for this purpose it was also essential that Judges and Magistrates aimed for the highest level of ethical behaviour.
In reply the President reiterated that ethical behaviour was not so much a question of what one could do but rather of what one ought not to do in view of one’s office and the responsibilities that went with that office. He said that he had full trust in the Judiciary as an essential organ in a democratic State, and recalled that members of the Judiciary, because of ethical constraints, often had to suffer a lot in silence when they were targeted especially in the press. He said the press should be careful not to contribute to the erosion of the people’s trust in the judicial institutions.
Upon leaving the Palace, the members of the Judiciary proceeded to the Archbishop’s Palace to exchange greetings with His Grace Archbishop Paul Cremona O.P., Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Mercieca and the Auxiliary Bishop of Malta Mgr. Charles Scicluna.