PM asks Chief Justice for speedier conclusion of Sofia’s death inquiry / Malta News Briefing – Thursday 13 April 2023

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Updated 1730

The Times of Malta reports that PM Robert Abela has written to the Chief Justice asking him to ensure that the magisterial inquiry into the construction death of Jean Paul Sofia is concluded as soon as possible. He said that when one considers the sensitivity of the case, such delay is totally unacceptable, even in view of the efficiency the courts were consistently showing.

Maltatoday reveals that Emanuel Cuschieri will return to One Radio with a daily political programme in the run-up to Workers’ Day in an apparent retreat by the Labour Party. Cuschieri was reportedly axed by One after a fallout with the political leadership last year.

Newsbook quotes the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) which says that the present spring hunting season for quail effectively serves as an unofficial hunting season for the vulnerable turtle dove. A decision on a spring hunting season for turtle doves remains pending, with a court set to rule on an injunction sought by BirdLife Malta on Friday.

The Malta Independent reports that the organisers of Valletta’s Holy Week processions call on the authorities to issue assurances that there will be no repeat of the disruption that took place during last week’s processions during which catering establishments placed tables along Merchants Street and played loud music in flagrant breach of the law.

Updated 1230

Parking bays for scooters being considered

A number local councils are in discussions with the authorities to introduce e-scooter parking bays in their localities, while prohibiting parking on other spots. Reports suggest that this reform will ensure that anyone leaving an e-scooter abandoned in front of a garage or in the middle of a pavement will continue to be charged until it is parked in a designated spot. A total of 10,999 fines were slapped on e-scooters across the island in 2022, nearly triple the amount issued the previous year. (Times of Malta)

Castille removes portrait of Jean-Paul Sofia as mother demands inquiry

In an effort to draw attention to her request for a public investigation into her son’s passing, Jean Paul Sofia’s mother in Valletta hung a candle-lit image of her son in front of the prime minister’s office. However, portrait as well as the candles were swiftly removed overnight. Sofia was killed last December when a three-story building he was working at fell during construction work.

Financial service company slapped 6-digit fine on poor due diligence

The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) has fined a company the sum of €133,148 after it found it guilty of not properly analysing 6,000 clients which it took on from another company. The company in question is Trive Financial Services Malta Limited, which used to be known as AKFX Financial Services Limited, and the investigation by the FIAU took place during 2019. (TVM)

Morning Briefing

Nurses will vote on final Government proposal

Nurses will be voting on pay proposals put forward by the government after yet another twist to the ongoing dispute.
The Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses said on Wednesday afternoon it will be suspending all industrial action from Thursday morning pending the outcome of the vote. The announcement was made just an hour before a scheduled mediation meeting called by the Health Ministry, which the union had called “useless”. The Union said that the ministry’s insistence to go for mediation rather than propose an improved package was a sign that the government had shut the door on nurses and midwives. (Maltatoday)

Public inquiries after construction deaths should be the norm – victim’s mother

The mother of construction victim Jean Paul Sofia wants Parliament to push through legislation that would automatically trigger a public inquiry following every workplace death. Isabelle Bonnici, who is still fighting to persuade the government to launch a public inquiry into her own son’s death last December, said that no parent who lost their child to an occupational accident should have to fight for justice while they grieve and reel from the tragedy. Rather,
a public, transparent investigation would determine what went wrong and rapidly recommend new practices to avoid other tragedies. (Times of Malta)

Freehour defends obligation to report breach leading to students’ arrest

The CEO of the student application FreeHour has said that it was the company’s “legal obligation” to report a security breach of which four computer science students found in their app to the authorities. The company’s founder and CEO Zach Ciappara said in a video on his platform’s Instagram account that beyond that, he was unaware of police’s investigations which ultimately led to the arrest, strip-search and confiscation of the equipment of the four students. (The Malta Independent)

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