Scerri Herrera has been ruled unfit to be a judge. It follows that she is also unfit to be a magistrate.
A judicial appointments committee made up of the Chief Justice, the Auditor General, the Ombudsman, the Attorney General and the president of the Chamber of Advocates has decided that Consuelo Scerri Herrera is unfit – not for reasons of incompetence but because of her sleazy private life and financial affairs – to be made a judge.
She is, however, already a magistrate – and has been one since Prime Minister Alfred Sant appointed her back in 1998 when she was just 33.
If she is unfit to become a judge, it therefore follows naturally that she is unfit to be a magistrate, and that she has held that post for several years while being unfit to hold it.
So – what do the Judicial Appointments Committee, the Justice Ministry, the Commission for the Administration of Justice and the shadow minister for justice plan to do about this? Because clearly, the problem has got to be solved.
Everyone who now appears in court before Magistrate Scerri Herrera will be aware that they are appearing before, and having their cases decided by, an individual who has been ruled unfit to be a judge.
The matter cannot stop here, and quite obviously has got to be referred to the Commission for the Administration of Justice. As the situation stands, the magistrate can only be removed through impeachment, which requires a two-thirds vote in parliament (and that means the support of Labour MPs, who include her brother, the Environment Minister, for her impeachment) after a recommendation by the Commission as distinct from the Judicial Appointments Committee.
It is worth recalling that Scerri Herrera has long been deemed unfit to carry out her duties. Seven years ago, when I reported on this website that she routinely dined out with politicians and journalists, and invited them to her parties – citing specific cases in which she was seen having dinner with Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando when he was appearing before her as a defendant or plaintiff – the Chief Justice, Vincent Degaetano, withdrew from her court, within 24 hours of my report being published, a very long list of libel cases and transferred them to another two magistrates. This is exactly how Magistrate Francesco Depasquale came to be the default magistrate for libel cases. Before that, it was Scerri Herrera.
That news – a big story, and one which should have been of particular interest to newspapers because it involved libel and politicians – was not published anywhere except on this website. The newspapers were too busy chasing red herrings in those days, and helping Muscat be elected. Two of those newspapers were even run by a man who was secretly involved in corrupt dealings with Keith Schembri, who was at the time masterminding the Labour Party’s electoral roadmap for the sole purpose of getting into power to engineer corrupt deals which would populate his offshore companies with assets. They hadn’t yet brought Konrad Mizzi on board as their tool and cabinet signatory.