Updated 7pm, adds PL statement

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.

Sofia, 20, was killed when a building under construction collapsed in Corradino in December.

His mother has since been campaigning for an independent public inquiry into the incident, supported by the Nationalist Party, which the prime minister has rebuffed.

But in a letter to Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti on Thursday, Abela wrote that the procès-verbal of the case has not yet been finalised delaying the conclusion of the magisterial inquiry presided over by Magistrate Marseanne Farrugia.

"When one considers the sensitivity of the case, this is a totally unacceptable delay," he wrote.

The inquiring magistrate, Abela insisted, had all the requested resources, including the technical experts, at her disposal.

He requested the Chief Justice to use his powers and prerogative to ensure that the inquiry is concluded for the course of justice to progress so that those responsible are made to answer for their actions.

Abela has resisted the efforts of Isabelle Bonnici, who says she does not want her son's death to be in vain and wants to be a "ray of hope for greater safety at places of work, and for justice".

On Wednesday evening, she placed a picture of her son in front of the prime minister's office, the Auberge de Castille.

It was removed overnight in a move that Bonnici, the PN and civil society NGO Repubblika all criticised. 

The private factory was being built on government land which was leased to Lands Authority official Kurt Bahagiar and his business partner Matthew Schembri. 

Both have been summoned to testify in the magisterial inquiry into the collapse. 

PN statement

In a statement later, the Nationalist Party said that the Prime Minister’s letter showed he was not interested in learning the whole truth about the tragic death.

He was also being insensitive as the letter showed he was just interested in covering for himself and justifying the incompetence of the police in the investigations.

The PN said the police had the power and all the necessary resources to, independently from the magistrate carrying out the inquiry, investigate, arrest, interrogate and charge all those who cause Sofia’s death.

But Abela has been refusing to hold a public inquiry since December, in spite of the mother’s pleas supported by the PN.

Jean Paul Sofia's mother statement

In another statement, Sofia’s mother Isabelle Bonnici said that while she wanted justice, her appeal remained for a public inquiry to also be held. This would idenfiy what led to the incident for such shortcomings to be rectified.

As a signatory of the European Convention of Human Rights, Malta had the duty to safeguard human rights and introduce structures which safeguard and protect life. Such structures could be recommended by the public inquiry, Sofia’s parents were calling for.

Sofia’s death, she said, could be a tool of hope and a safeguard for people’s lives.

PL statement

In another statement, the Labour Party refers to the PN's reaction saying this was yet another confirmation that the PN was not really interested in justice but in partisan gain.

The PN knew well enough the power of a magisterial inquiry and how much resources these requirement, including the assistance of other authorities.

But, to date, the PN was refusing to join in the PM's appeal which is for all those responsibel to face justice as soon as possible.

The PL again appealed for justice and for justice in time.

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